Jay Z Addresses Barneys Racial Profiling Lawsuits, But Will He Do Business With Them?
Should Jay Z drop his collection deal with Barneys? The New York shopping landmark is being accused of racial profiling and discrimination against two African-American customers after they were harassed for purchasing expensive items from the store. Jay Z is getting set to launch a partnership with Barneys for the holiday season that includes helping to create its artistic window display, as well as having the store sell items inspired by him, but has remained silent about the racism scandal. His silence has sparked outrage among those who feel his endorsement deal is a mistake and that he should quit his relationship with Barneys.
In a statement, Jay Z expressed anger at the backlash against him for keeping quiet. “I move and speak based on facts and not emotion. I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys,” he said in a statement. “Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately … I am against discrimination of any kind but if I make snap judgments, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?”
Last week, Trayvon Christian claimed police approached and detained him after expressing belief that he had actually purchased a $349 belt from the store. After an investigation confirmed that the debit card Christian used to purchase the belt was his, he was released. That same week, 21-year-old Kayla Phillips said she was approached by four undercover police officers after buying a $2,500 handbag and questioned as to how she paid for it. She was eventually released after showing police her ID and new debit card that had arrived in the mail that morning.
If Jay Z backs out of his business deal with Barneys, he would not be the first celebrity to do so. Beyonce, the Kardashian sisters and Jean-Claude Van Damme are among the celebrities who have quit their own endorsement deals for various reasons.