“Blame the cops” was our basic summary of Barney’s New York‘s damage control response to two lawsuits filed by black shoppers who were approached and, in one case, arrested after buying expensive items at the store.
The company appears to be doubling down on that strategy: yesterday CEO Mike Lee met with Rev. Al Sharpton, apologized to the affected parties (Jay-Z included) and said:
“Our preliminary investigation has concluded that in both of these instances no one from Barneys New York raised any issue with these purchases. No one from Barneys brought them to the attention of our internal security and no one from Barneys reached out to external authorities.”
Could you hear him spinning as you read that statement? From The New York Times today:
Security personnel said they were encouraged to “take chances” in stopping suspicious customers, even if it meant intercepting innocent people. Bad grabs, they said they were told, were part of the business. The number of contacts with the Police Department, made when security workers suspected a person had been shoplifting or engaging in credit card fraud, soon jumped drastically.