Jay Z Under Fire For Barneys Deal
Mogul Jay Z is under mounting pressure to drop a lucrative deal with Barneys department store after recent allegations of young African-American shoppers being racially profiled.
The New York Daily News front page warns he'll have zero respect from fans if he doesn't cut ties with the upscale store Barneys.
The controversy erupted after claims by two young African-American shoppers who say they were detained after buying luxury items at Barneys.
A 19-year-old college student was stopped outside the store minutes after buying an expensive $349 belt. And 21-year-old Kayla Phillips was detained after she bought a $2,500 handbag.
Kayla Phillips told INSIDE EDITION, "I bought my favorite bag. I wanted this bag. I deserved that bag. And then, to find out, you know, that I'm being accused of using someone else's card, I just really felt demeaned."
The allegations of racial profiling come at the same time that Barneys is about to launch a line of jewelry and clothing from Jay Z. It's part of Barneys eagerly awaited Christmas experience, along with their famous holiday window display.
Fans are calling on Jay Z to back out of the Barneys deal. Star Jones tweeted: "Looks like I'm going to have to put Barneys on timeout. This #ShoppingWhileBlack is out of hand."
The allegations are echoes of Oprah Winfrey's recent run-in at an upscale boutique in Switzerland. She says she was the victim of racial profiling when a shop clerk refused to show her a $38,000 Tom Ford handbag.
Winfrey told reporters at the time, "You should be able to go into a store looking like whatever you look like, and say, 'I'd like to see this.' "
After the George Zimmerman verdict, President Obama referred to the "shopping while black" phenomenon when he said, "There are very few African-American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. And that includes me."
Image consultant Mike Paul told INSIDE EDITION, "The bottom line for Jay Z is going to be, he's going to ask Barneys to prove to him that they're not a racist company."
Barney's released this statement: "Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable experience described in recent media reports. We are conducting a thorough review of our practices and procedures as they relate to these matters to ensure that they reflect our continued commitment to fairness and equality."
No comment yet from Jay Z, who is now in Sweden on tour. His superstar wife, Beyoncé, is touring in Australia.