College student Trayon Christian was accused of stealing a $349 Barney’s belt in 2013 even though he purchased the belt in the store. The NYPD stopped and frisked the young man, embarrassing him and violating his rights. Now, Christian has won a $45,000 settlement from NYC.
“They said my card wasn’t real, it was fake. They said someone at Barneys called to report it,” an 18-year-old Christian told the Daily News in October 2013. “The detectives were asking me, ‘How could you afford a belt like this? Where did you get this money from ?’ ”
The ordeal sparked boycotts and protests led by Rev. Al Sharpton and a call for rapper Jay Z to step away from his association with the clothing store.
Between 2013-14, Jay Z did continue his partnership with the company but with conditions.
I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue. The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem. I will not leave the outcome to others. I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward. I am choosing to take this head on.
In 2013, Jay Z got Barney’s to donate $1 million to the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.
“Moving forward, Mr. Carter’s leadership in this process will further strengthen the industry’s ability to ensure that anyone who walks into a retail establishment is treated equally and with respect. We welcome Mr. Carter’s input and recommendations to our future policies and guidelines,” Barneys stated in a release sent via email from Beth Orr, Barney’s Vice President of Public Relations and Special Events.
According to Reuters, in addition to the settlement, Barneys reached a settlement with New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in 2014 to pay a $525,000 fine, hire an anti-profiling consultant and re-train its employees.