By Nigel Boys
It appears that even if you happen to be a famous actor, you may still be discriminated against if you decide to go shopping in Macy’s in Herald Square, New York. At least that’s the experience of Rob Brown, who appears in the HBO series “Treme,” and that’s why he sued the store and the city for racial profiling.
However, possibly due to the media attention to the story or maybe because several other black customers have filed lawsuits against them, Macy’s has apparently come to some sort of amicable settlement with the 30-year-old actor, according to Manhattan Federal Judge, Lorna Schofield.
According to Brown, he was falsely accused of using a fake credit card in June 2013 at Macy’s flagship store when he attempted to purchase a $1,300 watch for his mother’s college graduation. He adds that he was frisked, handcuffed and held for almost an hour in a store detention cell, while being questioned about his intended purchase by men who didn’t believe he could afford to buy the watch.
Brown then filed a lawsuit against Macy’s and the city for false imprisonment, negligent training and civil rights offenses. He was not the only African-American shopper to do so. At least eight more black shoppers have filed complaints against Macy’s and the store has reportedly paid out over $600,000 in fines imposed when the attorney general filed a series of complaints.
After a settlement was reached, at least in principle, if not amount, a spokeswoman for the store said that Macy’s has zero tolerance for racial profiling or discrimination of any kind. She added that they were pleased to have come to some sort of understanding with Brown, and a spokesman for the city said something similar.
Douglas Wigdor, who is representing Brown and several other clients who have filed lawsuits against Macy’s said that the actor’s case and that of Maria Paez, a Venezuelan tourist who was accused of shoplifting, have been settled in principle.
According to Paez, while she was shopping in the store with her 12-year-old son, she was putting items into a Macy’s bag before going to the checkout counter to pay for them. She adds that she was apprehended by store security and held for more than six hours in the store’s jail while her son waited for her, not knowing where she was or what had happened.