NEW YORK – Barneys New York CEO Mark Lee today announced that the luxury department store will begin requiring young black males to provide proof of income before shopping at its flagship location on Madison Avenue. Lee—who has led the company since 2010—said the new policy will “prevent incidents like the one that occurred in April,” when a black teenager was arrested on suspicion of credit card fraud after Barneys employees didn’t believe he could afford the $350 belt he purchased.
Lee said that, in a perfect world, anyone could walk off the street and shop at Barneys. “But the reality is that most people can’t afford our beautiful, high-end products,” Lee explained, “and some people—almost always young black males—resort to credit card fraud to get them.”
Barneys’ new policy will require all African American males under the age of 30 to show security guards pay stubs or income tax forms before being granted admittance into the store. “This way,” Lee said, “once they’re inside, we’ll know for sure what they can and can’t afford, and we won’t be forced to racially profile them.”
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