Barneys Atones For Racial Profiling

Some may remember the stir caused last year against luxury department store Barneys regarding issues of racial profiling in their store, in large part due to Jay-Z’s endorsement of the brand and the subsequently awkward position he was placed in. After an investigation that lasted nine months, the verdict is in: Barneys will pay over half a million dollars in damages.

The hullabaloo started when it was revealed that Barneys’ security team, or as they prefer to be called ‘loss-prevention,’ had been overwhelmingly guilty of racially profiling their customers. Attempting to combat theft and credit card fraud from their stores, nearly all the customers targeted were African-American or Latino, with virtually no reported cases of Caucasian crime. In addition to now paying $525,000, the company is required to hire an anti-profiling consultant as part of their team for a minimum of two years.

While most assuredly at fault, Barneys has been making moves toward demonstrating their diversity and nondiscrimination. In an ad campaign earlier this year, the company cast 17 models identifying as transgender for a series highlighting their struggles and often overlooked presence in the world today. In tandem with the campaign, titled Brothers, Sisters, Sons, and Daughters, the store donated to 10% of sales in flagship stores toward The National Center for Transgender Equality. This certainly does not excuse the company’s previous behavior, but it is a solid step in the right direction.

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