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Al Sharpton threatens Barneys boycott over racial profiling allegations
NEW YORK — The Rev. Al Sharpton threatened Saturday to boycott luxury retailer Barneys if the department store doesn’t respond adequately to allegations by black shoppers that they were racially profiled there.
“We’ve gone from stop and frisk to shop and frisk, and we are not going to take it,” the black civil rights leader said. “We are not going to live in a town where our money is considered suspect and everyone else’s money is respected.”
Two black Barneys New York customers, Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, said this week they were detained by police after making expensive purchases.
Christian sued Barneys, saying he was accused of fraud after using his debit card to buy a $349 Ferragamo belt in April.
Macy’s was also hit with a lawsuit alleging racial profiling this week.
A black actor on the HBO drama series “Treme” said Friday he was stopped by police because of his race while shopping at Macy’s flagship Manhattan store.
Robert Brown said in his lawsuit that he was detained by police June 8 after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud.
Macy’s didn’t comment on the litigation but said in a statement it was investigating.
Some Sharpton supporters who attended Saturday’s rally said they had been profiled in stores, too.
Shane Lee, 51, said he went to the high-end store Bergdorf Goodman to buy shirts last year and the sales staff would not assist him.
“Instead of helping me, they were staring at me,” said Lee, who is black. “I felt so uncomfortable that I just left.”
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