NEW YORK – No Macy’s employees were involved in the detention or questioning of a black actor who alleges that he was stopped because of his race while shopping at the flagship Manhattan department store, Macy’s officials said Sunday.
Rob Brown, a black actor who works on the HBO series “Treme,” has said he was detained for nearly an hour by police June 8 after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud. The actor has filed a lawsuit.
In a statement, Macy’s said that there was no record of any employee contacting authorities about Brown’s purchase. The store said that police officers requested use of a room in the building and that request was granted.The store said that it was continuing to investigate the accusation.
Brown’s account comes after claims from two black shoppers said they were racially profiled at the luxury store Barneys New York.
Trayon Christian sued Barneys, saying he was accused of fraud after using his debit card to buy a $349 Ferragamo belt in April. Kayla Philips filed a notice of claim saying she would sue after she was stopped by detectives outside the store when she bought a $2,500 Celine handbag in February.
As the criticism grew, Barneys said that it had retained a civil rights expert to help review its procedures. The CEO of Barneys, Mark Lee, offered his “sincere regret and deepest apologies.”
Kirsten J. Foy, an official with the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, said he would meet with Barneys officials Tuesday discuss the racial profiling allegations.
Meanwhile, superstar rapper Jay Z said Saturday he’s being “demonized” for just waiting to hear all of the facts related to the Barneys case.
Jay Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, has been under increasing pressure to back out of a collaboration with Barneys New York after the racial-profiling accusations surfaced.
An online petition and Twitter messages from fans have been circulating, calling on the star to bow out of his upcoming partnership with Barneys for the holiday season, which will have the store selling items by top designers, inspired by Jay Z, with some of the proceeds going to his charity.
He is also working with the store to create its artistic holiday window display.
The rap magnate made his first statement about the controversy in a posting on his website.
“I move and speak based on facts and not emotion,” the statement said. “I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys.
“Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?” he said, referring to local newspaper headlines.
“The negligent, erroneous reports and attacks on my character, intentions and the spirit of this collaboration have forced me into a statement I didn’t want to make without the full facts,” he added.
Jay Z also dismissed reports that he would profit from the collaboration. He said he’s “not making a dime” from working with Barneys. Instead, his Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides college scholarships to economically challenged students, will get 25 percent of all sales from the collaboration.
“This money is going to help individuals facing socioeconomic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning,” he said. “My idea was born out of creativity and charity … not profit.”