With all the drama caused by H&M and their “coolest monkey in the jungle” hoodie adorned by the black child model; and then e-commerce site Amazon coming under major scrutiny for offering for sale a shirt emblazoned with “slavery gets s—t done,” it’s starting to look like an unfortunate marketing tool.
Major brands and companies are using controversial means to gain attention which can equal a large amount of revenue for them. Not all money is good money; slavery and racial overtones drudge up a painful past that African-Americans still contend with till this day. Yet again, another retailer, Old Navy has been called out for racially profiling a customer.
The incident of discrimination occurred in West Des Moines, Iowa. James Conley III was accused of allegedly stealing a jacket while he walked around the store. In a Facebook post, he reiterated:
Today I was racially profiled by the Old Navy store in West Des Moines, Iowa in Jordan creek. I was accused that I didn’t pay for my blue bubble jacket that I got for Christmas that I wore into the store. As I was checking out to purchase some hoodies, I was asked if I wanted to also purchase the jacket that I was wearing. First, I started laughing because I didnt believe what I was hearing. The store manager Beau Carter was very unprofessional and stereotyped me because I was a Black male. He says “anytime someone wears Old Navy clothing they have to always scan that customers clothing to insure that it was previously purchased”. (Where do they do that at?) Every time I go to this store I have on my same exact winter blue jacket and have never been asked to scan my clothing and the previous “non-black” customers had on identical apparel as me from old navy but was never asked to scan their clothing. Then after they scan my jacket they try to make me repay for it?? Finally the District Manager Shannon (who refused to give out her last name) came out and I made her check the surveillance tape to prove that her and her fellow employees were in the wrong for racially profiling me because of the color of my skin. Once she confirmed that I was telling the truth (after watching the tape) she never came back out to apologize to me nor did the store manager Beau Carter as you can see in my videos below.
The incident forced parent company, Gap Inc. to close down while a thorough investigation was completed. After reopening on February 1st, the company issued a formal apology that was posted on it’s Facebook page.
The employees that accused Conley of theft were also fired, as reported by The Des Moines Register. There was no report of the manager that appeared in the video being dismissed from his position.
Conley revealed in a joint press conference with NAACP that he is planning to pursue a lawsuit against the company.