Barneys has come under fire in recent days when two separate instances of racial profiling were brought to light. Two black customers who were stopped by police after making expensive purchases at the department store are filing discrimination lawsuits against both the store and the New York City Police Department.
Many of America’s biggest brands, designers, and retailers have been caught up in a racial discrimination controversy (some more than once). Check out which of them have been less than culturally sensitive below!
1. American Apparel
American Apparel has always blurred the line between advertising and exploitation. Photos from a 2011 catalog featured a California farmer as a prop next to a white model.
2. Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch is no stranger to controversy, what with its discrimination lawsuits and not-so-secret nature of customer exclusion. In 2002, the retailer made headlines when it rolled out a line of T-shirts that were racially targeting Asians, bearing slogans like “Two Wongs Can Make it White” and “Get Your Buddha on the Floor.”
3. Cracker Barrel
This down-home restaurant was sued by the Justice Department in 2004 for numerous cases of customer bias across its hundreds of locations nationwide.
4. French Vogue
French Vogue unveiled a 14-page editorial in which a white model was featured wearing blackface for the campaign.
Abercrombie & Fitch’s mini-me has seen its fair share of racial discrimination as well. Most recently, the retailer came under fire when models who were flown in from the U.S. were blatantly mocking Asian customers at the opening of their first store in South Korea.
6. Italian Vogue
In 2008, Italian Vogue released an all-Black issue that sparked an outcry from critics who demanded to know why black models had to be featured in a special issue and why the regular issues remained determinedly white.
7. Karl Lagerfeld
Celebrated designer Karl Lagerfeld portrayed model Claudia Schiffer in blackface and Afro wig for a 2008 Dom Perignon ad campaign.
Media queen Oprah made headlines this year when a Swiss store clerk reportedly told her a handbag she was looking at was “too expensive” for her.
9. Washington Redskins
This NFL team has been the topic of much debate recently when members of Congress urged the team to consider a name change, stating that “Redskins” is offensive to many Native Americans.
While ?uestlove may love Chik-Fil-A, many human rights groups feel otherwise. The company has been vocal in its opposition to gay rights.
11. Victoria’s Secret
The lingerie store has been the center of controversy on more than one occasion by releasing lines or products that were racially insensitive. In a 2010 televised fashion show, black models were featured in a tribal-themed set that included tribal paint and African wraps.