Barneys has been hit with allegations of racism since a black
customer came forwardwith his story about being detained by police after purchasing an expensive belt.
Now, employees tell Kim Bhasin and Julee Wilson at The Huffington Post that racism was allegedly a part of employee culture.
Some employees allegedly followed black customers who came in alone, according to HuffPo. Those with entourages were perceived to be famous, and were usually left alone.
Even Barneys’ black employees were exposed to this culture, according to the report.
“”If a black person comes in with a sweatshirt or sneakers, some of the white sales associates would be on the floor saying: ‘Why are they even here? They’re probably going to scam,'” a black former associate told HuffPo. “They would say this stuff in front of me. Sometimes I would just walk away, and sometimes I would say, ‘You never know.'”
Barneys has denied allegations of racism, citing comments CEO Mark Lee made after a meeting with Rev. Al Sharpton.
“We take this issue very seriously, and if any employees were to deviate from our policies we would terminate those individuals immediately,” Lee said.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.