New York—Following a firestorm of bad press and a petition calling for him to severe a business relationship, Jay Z responded to the controversy surrounding Barneys New York and allegations of racial profiling by defending his participation against “erroneous reports.”
Barneys issued an apology last Thursday after two incidents of alleged racial profiling occurred at the luxury retailer, one of which resulted in a lawsuit against the retailer and the New York Police Department.
A petition begun on Charge.org was directed at the hip-hop mogul, imploring JayZ to end his collaboration with Barneys as part of its annual celebrity holiday celebration.
‘I Do Not Stand to Make Millions’
“Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?” Jay Z said. “The negligent, erroneous reports and attacks on my character, intentions, and the spirit of this collaboration have forced me into a statement I didn’t want to make without the full facts. Making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project, wouldn’t hurt Barneys or Shawn Carter, but all the people that stand a chance at higher education.”
While he made no comment about the racial profiling allegations, Jay Z noted that the collaboration is aimed at aiding his foundation.
“This collaboration lives in a place of giving and is about the Foundation. I am not making a dime from this collection; I do not stand to make millions, as falsely reported. I need to make that fact crystal clear,” Jay Z said. “The Shawn Carter Foundation is the beneficiary and the foundation is receiving 25% of all sales from the collaboration, 10% of all sales generated in the store on November 20th and an additional donation from Barneys. This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning. My idea was born out of creativity and charity… not profit.”
In an effort to calm down the situation, Barneys CEO Mark Lee hired a civil rights activist to review the store’s policies and make sure they are in compliance with the retailer’s position of nondiscrimination.
Jay Z’ collaboration is being called “A New York Holiday” and features a range of merchandise from a $70 T-shirt to a $33,900 watch.