Earlier this week, Barneys CEO Mark Lee met with the Rev. Al Sharpton to issue a public apology to the two African American shoppers -- Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, who alleged they were racially profiled and accused of using fraudulent credit cards inside the store -- as well as to Jay-Z's Sean Carter Foundation.
"No one, and I mean no individual, should go through the unacceptable experiences described by Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips," Lee said, according to the New York Post. "We offer our deepest sympathies to both of them."
In April, Christian was detained after he purchased a $349 designer belt while Phillips was questioned about credit card fraud after she bought a $2,500 handbag in February.
After a full investigation, Lee said, in both instances, "No one from Barneys New York raised any issue with these purchases." He added, "Racial profiling is an extremely serious form of discrimination. We take it very seriously, and if we found that to be factually true we would terminate those individuals."
In addition, Lee apologized to the rap mogul, who partnered with the luxury retailer to launch a clothing collection next month to benefit his charity.
"We deeply regret that these recent events have distracted from the great work of the Sean Carter Foundation, and we offer our sincere apologies to Mister Carter," Lee said. "Our collaboration together is based on the shared mission of helping individuals facing socio-economic hardships."
Overall, Lee hopes the alleged profiling issue will raise a serious dialogue moving forward. "I’m prepared to stand with the Rev. Sharpton and the leaders to effect real change and bring other retailers into the fold," Lee continued and added that the company will cooperate with state Attorney General's investigation into a similar case involving two men, including HBO actor Rob Brown, who claim to have been singled out at Macy’s.
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