Rapper Jay-Z said Saturday he had been "demonized" over his collaboration with luxury store Barneys New York after it was accused of racially profiling two customers.
The artist - whose real name is Shawn Carter – has been under pressure to end his involvement with the retailer after two young black customers said they were detained by police after making expensive purchases at the Manhattan store.
In particular, he has been criticized for failing to speak publicly on the issue despite an online storm from fans.
Items created by Jay-Z are to be sold as part of a Christmas promotion by the store, with some of the proceeds going to his charity.
In a statement released Saturday night, Jay-Z said he hasn't spoken out because he is waiting for the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys.
"I move and speak based on facts and not emotion," the statement said. "Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?" he 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.”
The statement continued: “I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?”
Barneys said Thursday it had retained a civil rights expert to help review its procedures, according to The Associated Press. The CEO of Barneys, Mark Lee, offered his "sincere regret and deepest apologies," the AP reported.
First published October 26 2013, 7:26 PM