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Jay Z isn’t a businessman, he’s a business, man. And with business often comes backlash.
This week, Jay faced criticism for his recent partnership with Barneys New York, which is set to launch a clothing line with the rapper on Nov. 20, after two African American shoppers claimed the store racially profiled them.
According to the New York Daily News, a 19-year-old college student Trayon Christian, who bought a $349 belt, was stopped on his way out of the store. Christian says he was handcuffed, imprisoned and interrogated on how he could afford such an expensive item. Just days later, a 21-year-old Brooklyn woman named Kayla Phillips, who had just purchased a $2,500 Céline handbag, was also stopped and accused of using a fraudulent card.
The allegations led Brooklyn-based entrepreneur Derick Bowers to start a petition on Change.org asking Jay to drop the collaboration, according to BET.
In his petition, which is titled “Barneys New Slaves,” Bowers writes, “We can no longer tolerate blatant prejudice and discrimination. It is clear that the minority buying power is devalued by some. We must withdraw support to those who will not support us.”
He later writes, “Jay Z should be appalled by Barneys actions, and withdraw all support from them. If he does this, he will send a clear message to all corporations that are likeminded, that this behavior cannot be tolerated any longer.”
As of right now, the petition, which went up has 2,416 supporters. If Bowers reaches his goal of 2,500 supporters he will send it to Jay’s publicist.
Jay has yet to comment on the petition, but the CEO of Barneys New York, Mark Lee posted a note to the store’s Facebook saying he offers his “sincere regret and deepest apologies” to Christian and Phillips. He also goes on to write that they are reviewing the practices and procedures of their staff.
“We want to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination,” Lee writes. “We are a strong proponent of equal rights and equal treatment for all human beings. Our mission is to ensure that all customers receive the highest-quality service—without exception.”