Brown, who is bringing a lawsuit against Macy’s, claimed that he was handcuffed and detained for an hour in June, by store detectives who doubted he could afford the sunglasses he had just paid for.
Detained: Robert Brown in his film debut with Sean Connery. The young actor claims Macy’s held him for an hour after racially profiling him
The Harlem-born actor, who made his big screen debut opposite Sean Connery in 2000, said a swarm of undercover detectives surrounded him after he made at purchase at the Sunglasses Hut in the store on June 18.
The suit alleged that he was subjected to an ‘unlawful stop’ and taken to a holding cell in the store, where he was questioned about a purchase he had made, the Daily News reported.
The 29-year-old said when he produced his ID to prove he owned the credit card used, he was allegedly told it was ‘false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase’.
‘No facts existed that would give rise to the inference that either the identification or debit/credit card was fake, false, fraudulent, altered, tampered, or in any other way unlawful,’ the suit said.
The actor said his backpack and shopping bag were searched and he was kept handcuffed before being released about an hour later, without any criminal charges being made against him.
The suit claimed Brown was humiliated by being ‘paraded while handcuffed in a public setting’. It also accused Macy’s and NYPD of making allegations against Brown ‘based on race and age as he was a young black American male’.
Inquiry: Macy’s says it is investigating the claims made by Brown
Doubted: A lawsuit against Macy’s alleges staff claimed Treme star Brown could not afford the sunglasses he had just paid for
A spokesman for Macy’s released a statement that said: ‘We are investigating the alleged claims, as we were just made aware of this lawsuit. We do not comment on matters in litigation.’
Attorney John Eleftrekais, who is representing Brown, said: ‘This isn’t about money, this [is] about proving a point.’
‘This is just something that shouldn’t happen,’ he told the New York Post.
Brown’s experiences are the latest in a slew of claims from black Americans who say they have been discriminated against in stores.
Fashion megastar Tyson Beckford, 42, told PIX11 on Thursday that he frequently gets judged on the color of his skin in Barney’s and other places.
‘I might have the most recognizable face in the world. I still get followed all the time, any time I go to a store,’ Beckford said outside Barney’s on Thursday.
Target: World famous male model Tyson Beckford said that even he is racially profiled when he goes into stores like Barney’s and elsewhere
Barney’s has also issued an apology and stated that it is employing a civil rights expert to look at how customers are treated at the luxury store.
Meanwhile Jay-Z has come under pressure to drop his clothing deal with the high-end store.
Beckford was interviewed by PIX11 as he came out of Barney’s flagship store on fashionable Madison Avenue near 60th Street in Manhattan.
‘I just went in there now to go to a casting and security is looking at me. It’s sad,’ the model, who first hit fame when he became the face of Ralph Lauren’s Polo range in 1993, said.
Barney’s CEO Mark Lee posted a statement on the store’s Facebook page that read: ‘Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable experience described in recent media reports, and we offer our sincere regret and deepest apologies.’
The note added that the store has ‘zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. We are a strong proponent of equal rights and equal treatment for all human beings.
Trouble: Barney’s flagship store in Manhattan is in a row about whether it racially profiles its black customers after two young New Yorkers complained about their treatment this week
‘Our mission is to ensure that all customers receive the highest-quality service – without exception.’
Mr Lee then announced that the company was hiring civil rights expert, Michael Yaki, who works on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to work with the store on this issue.
Beckford is just the latest big name to become embroiled in the row over Barney’s treatment of black customers, as Jay-Z has come in criticism over his Christmas deal with the store.
The controversy began when two young black New Yorkers came forward to say that they had been stopped and detained after buying expensive items from the luxury shop.
‘Sad’: ‘I just went in there now to go to a casting and security is looking at me. It’s sad,’ said the model who first hit fame when he became the face of Ralph Lauren’s Polo range in 1993
BARNEY’S APOLOGY IN FULL
Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable experience described in recent media reports, and we offer our sincere regret and deepest apologies.
Further to our statement of yesterday, we want to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. We are a strong proponent of equal rights and equal treatment for all human beings. Our mission is to ensure that all customers receive the highest-quality service—without exception.
To this end, we are conducting a thorough review of our practices and procedures as they relate to these matters to ensure that they reflect our continued commitment to fairness and equality. To lead this review, we have retained a civil rights expert, Michael Yaki, who also serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Commission has been the nation’s watchdog for civil rights for more than 50 years. Mr. Yaki will be provided with unrestricted access to all aspects of our store operations.
In addition, Barneys New York has reached out to community leaders to begin a dialogue on this important issue.
CEO of Barneys New York
Under pressure: Jay-Z is coming under pressure from social media and even his own home neighborhood to drop his lucrative Holiday tie-in with Barneys after two alleged incidents of racial profiling at their flagship store
The superstar rapper has signed a contract to design an exclusive line for the Manhattan superstore available next month and the 43-year-old will also be called upon to decorate one of the store’s iconic Christmas windows.
However, in light of the news that two black shoppers have accused Barney’s and the NYPD of racially profiling them after they purchased expensive items at the Madison Avenue store, a petition has been signed calling on Jay-Z to reconsider his contract.
The residents of Marcy House, in Brooklyn, where Jay-Z grew up as Shawn Carter have called on the ’99 Problems’ rapper and husband of Beyonce to think about those who have not become as succesful as him.
‘Jay Z and my son grew up together,’ said Effie Hardy, 74, to the New York Daily News.
Expensive: Items available from Jay-Z’s new exclusive line at Barneys called ‘A New York Holiday’ – which has products available for tens of thousands of dollars
‘That could be his family Barneys is profiling. They would’ve done the same thing to him back in the day, before he got to where he is now. He should remember that.’
The luxury and exclusive collection that Jay-Z has lent his considerable clout to is named ‘A New York Holiday,’ and the cheapest item is a $70 cotton T-shirt. A Shawn Carter watch by Hublot with alligator skin straps will cost an incredible $33,900.
Another Marcy resident, Annette Rush, 40, told the New York Daily News that as a role model, Jay-Z should think about the ramifications of the two shoppers allegations.
‘My money is as good as anybody else’s money. It’s all green,’ Ms Rush said.
‘From someone that came from the hood, he should know all that. He knows how hard it is.
‘I don’t think he should sell his things there, not at a place where there’s racial profiling going on. It’s ridiculous.’
On Tuesday, Trayon Christian said that he was suing the city and Barneys after he was accosted by two undercover NYPD detectives after he had bought a $349 Ferragamo belt.
Evocative: This Twitter user tries to invoke Jay-Z’s paternal instincts by questioning how he would feel if his daughter was racially profiled as it is alleged the NYPD and Barneys profiled two black customers
On Wednesday, Kayla Phillips said that she too had been stopped. The young mother, from Brooklyn, New York, said she experienced similarly shocking treatment from staff at the Madison Avenue store in February when she bought a $2,500 Céline handbag.
She has now filed a $5 million notice of claim with the city showing her intention to sue the NYPD.
‘As I was walking into the train station, four undercover police officers attacked me,’ Ms Phillips told the New York Post.
‘They were very rough,’ she added to the New York Daily News. ‘I didn’t know what was happening.’
She explained to the cops that she had used a temporary Bank of America card to make the purchase – and they demanded to know why her name was not on it.
Complaint: Kayla Phillips, 21, says cops demanded to know how she could afford to buy a $2,500 Céline bag from Barneys in New York – in a case that echoes that of a teen accusing the store of racial profiling
Shock: She called her mother Wendy Straker (right with Kayla) who said she heard police ask her daughter: ‘What are you doing here in Manhattan? Where’d you get the money to buy that expensive bag?’
She called her mother, Wendy Straker, who said that the police officers had asked her daughter: ‘What are you doing here in Manhattan? Where’d you get the money to buy that expensive bag?’
Ms Straker added that the police were on the phone with a Barney’s employee about the transaction.
Police finally let her go after she showed them her ID and new debit card, which arrived that morning.
‘Jay Z is getting ready to do a campaign with Barneys, but they’re looking at these African-American kids like they’re thieves,’ Ms Straker said.
The case comes after it emerged that another shopper, Trayon Christian, was stopped and handcuffed after he bought a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt in the store.
Treat: She had just bought a $2,500 orange suede Céline handbag when she was stopped by cops
Mr Christian, 19, has filed a lawsuit for unspecified damages against the Madison Avenue store and the NYPD who wrongly accused him of fraud.
The teenager, who lives with his mother in Queens, had decided to splash out on the belt after seeing one of his favorite music stars, Harlem rapper Juelz Santana, wearing the accessory.
However once he had paid for the belt and had left Barneys on April 29 this year, the fashion-loving teen was grabbed by undercover officers on the street.
According to the civil rights lawsuit, the 19-year-old was asked ‘how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt’.
Mr Christian’s lawyer Michael Palillo told the New York Daily News: ‘He’s never been arrested. His only crime was being a young black guy buying a $300 belt.’
Trayon Christian, 19, has brought a lawsuit against Barneys and the NYPD after they wrongly accused him of fraud when he purchased a designer belt
A Barney’s store employee had asked the 19-year-old for ID when he used his Chase debit card to buy the belt. Mr Christian showed the clerk his state ID.
Harlem rapper Juelz Santana (pictured right) wearing the belt coveted by his teenage fan
The store cashier then subsequently called the police to claim that the purchase was a fraud, according to the lawsuit.
Officers took the teenager to a local precinct.
Mr Christian once again showed his ID, debit card and receipt for the belt. Officers still refused to believe the teenager.
Finally Chase bank was contacted who verified that the debit card belonged to Mr Christian. It was only then that he was allowed to go after spending two hours in a holding cell, the suit claims.
The NYPD denied this and said the student was only held for 42 minutes.
The student, who has no history of arrests, said that he will never shop at Barney’s again following the incident.
A Barney’s New York spokesman said: ‘Barney’s New York typically does not comment on pending litigation.
‘In this instance, we feel compelled to note that after carefully reviewing the incident of last April, it is clear that no employee of Barney’s New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale.
‘Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and we stand by our long history in support of all human rights.’
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