Barneys to pay $525,000 in shopper-profiling probe

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm •  Published: August 11, 2014
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Christian's lawyer noted that a review last fall — commissioned by Barneys — had found the store didn't have a written or unwritten policy to profile customers.

"We are pleased that Barney's has acknowledged their responsibility," said Christian's lawyer, Michael B. Palillo. "We are hopeful that this offensive and discriminatory conduct will finally come to an end."

Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton met with Lee to discuss the issue, and the furor spurred an online petition asking rapper Jay-Z to drop his collaboration with the luxury retailer on a holiday collection. Jay-Z ultimately decided to move forward with the project, which raised money for his charitable foundation, under the condition that he helped lead the store's review of its policies.

Sharpton said in a statement Monday that Barneys' agreement with the attorney general was a "move in the right direction," but continued vigilance is needed.

Meanwhile, minority shoppers — including actor Rob Brown — made similar complaints last year against other New York stores including Macy's, which had paid a $600,000 fine and promised changes in 2005 after the then-attorney general made similar claims. Macy's and the "Treme" actor reached a settlement in principle last month in his federal civil rights suit over the matter, both sides said, declining to detail the terms.

In December, Barney's, Macy's and several other major retailers agreed to create and publicize a customer bill of rights. Sharpton's National Action Network plans to send people into stores to spot-check compliance, he said Monday.

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Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter @ jennpeltz.