Macy's Denies Racially Profiling Treme Actor Robert Brown

Second chain under fire for persecuting Black shoppers.

Posted: 10/28/2013 10:45 AM EDT
Robert Brown


After Barneys New York was accused of racially profiling Black customers at its flagship Manhattan store, Macy's is the latest department store chain to face similar charges. Robert Brown, an actor on HBO's Treme, filed a lawsuit claiming he was stopped while buying sunglasses in one of their stores because he is Black. Macy's issued a statement denying that their employees detained him.

Brown says he was stopped by police at the iconic store after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud. He says he was held at the store, handcuffed and searched before being released.

In the statement released Sunday, Macy's said that according to an initial investigation, its "personnel were not involved in Mr. Brown's detention or questioning," which was "an operation of the New York City Police Department." The NYPD is also named in Brown's lawsuit.

His accusation emerged after Barneys New York came under fire for profiling two Black shoppers in recent weeks.

On Thursday, Barneys New York CEO Mark Lee apologized in a statement about the claims against its Manhattan store, adding that "no customer should have the unacceptable experience" of being accosted by police after making a purchase at the store. While pressure has been mounting for Jay Z, who has a merchandising deal with Barneys, to boycott the store, he released a statement on Saturday refusing to pass judgment until more facts came to light.

Macy's, meanwhile, says "the allegations are especially concerning given that our company does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including racial profiling."

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 (Photo: John W. Ferguson/Getty Images)

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