Heading into the holiday season, high-end retailer Barney's is still licking its wounds and trying to repair its image after several recent high-profile accusations of racial profiling. On April 29 of this year, a 19-year-old college student was stopped by undercover NYPD officers after having left Barney's. They believed he could not afford the $350 Barney's belt he had purchased with a debit card. The resulting lawsuit alleges that "he was held in a cell for more than two hours before being released with no charges filed. It said the incident was due to 'discrimination based on plaintiff's race and age.'" Robert Brown, star of HBO's Treme, recounted the following to Anderson Cooper about his own experience at Barney's: "They cuff me, parade me around the store, all the while maintaining, we do this all the time, it's a fake card, you're going to go to jail." Hip-hop star Jay Z has also been at the center of this controversy because of the recent clothing line he launched with the retailer.
In an effort to rehabilitate its appeal among minority shoppers this holiday season, Barney's is trying to soften its image by joining a small number of stores who are not participating in Black Friday. "Barney's will not be taking part in the annual shopping extravaganza this year. Black Friday violates who we are as a company and we hope that others follow suit. We will not participate in Black Friday, Black Monday, or Brown Wednesday or Thursday. We know that this type of leadership is what our customers expect from us."
After hearing the announcement, the Republican National Committee vociferously commended Barney's for their new policy.
Your handsome and humble servant-