Emmy Rossum slams Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters for alleged racial profiling

Emmy Rossum probably won’t be shopping at Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters or Free People anymore.

After fashion watchdog Instagram account Diet Prada compiled comments from former Anthropologie employees alleging that the company uses a code word to flag black shoppers for surveillance, the “Shameless” star spoke out on social media.

“Hey @Anthropologie. Your policy of racial profiling is disgusting,” Rossum, 33, tweeted on Wednesday. “Your employees (US and Canada) tell stories about the codename “nick” they were directed to use when forced to profile black customers. The time for tranparency [sic],  apology and CHANGE is NOW.”

View this post on Instagram

Another day, another boho Karen retailer showing their true shades of beige. Last week, @anthropologie posted a Maya Angelou quote in splashy colors as a “call for equality”. With any mention of the #BlackLivesMatter movement absent, Angelou’s words could be interpreted more along the lines of “All lives matter”, lest Anthro offend their primary target audience. In the comment section, oblivious fans clamored for it to be released as a t-shirt or a poster. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Also in the comment section— claims of deep discriminatory practices. The code names different retailers have used to profile POC shoppers have come to light in lawsuits over the years—Moschino’s “Serena”, Zara’s “special order”, or Versace’s “D410” (the merchandise color code they use for black shirts)—but Anthropologie’s is maybe the most insidious yet. Comments from multiple employees confirm that stores in California, Chicago, Seattle, NYC and Canada use the code name “Nick” to refer to Black shoppers. Associates report being told to watch Black shoppers, and Black shoppers also commented confirming having been followed while shopping in their stores. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Anthropologie followed up with a post of a black square and then some promises of action they’ll take. At the same time, more hypocrisy was taking place at the corporate level. While the retailer was posting about committing to diversifying their workforce, they were at the same time asking POC for free labor. On May 26th, Queer Black creator Lydia Okello ( @styleisstyle ) was approached by a producer to potentially partake in Anthro’s #sliceofhappy Pride month campaign in exchange for a free outfit. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Okello replied with their typical rates and ended up getting trapped in a back and forth volley with no resolution after being told there was no budget for an influencer of their level (22.8k followers). For a campaign aimed to express what happiness means, surely they could’ve anticipated that no one, especially in a month meant to celebrate them, is happy to work for free. • #blacklivesmatter #blm #anthropologie #anthropologiehome #anthro #retail #codename #work #free #influencer #microinfluencer #labor #dietprada

A post shared by Diet Prada ™ (@diet_prada) on

When one of the actress’ followers alerted her that Urban Outfitters and Free People belong to the same parent company, URBN, Rossum called out those retailers as well, saying she regrets supporting them during her eight-year run on Showtime series “Shameless.”

“Also @UrbanOutfitters and @FreePeople — I am now sorry that I wore so many of your stupid bralets in Shameless,” she tweeted. “I’m disgusted by your culture.”

Anthropologie appeared to respond to the allegations on Instagram Thursday. “You may have seen that we have been challenged to be more transparent, unbiased, and fair in our stores and with our business practices,” the post began.

“Regarding allegations of racial profiling, we have never and will never have a code word based on a customer’s race or ethnicity. Our company has a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination or racial profiling in any form. Employees who do not adhere to this policy are subject to disciplinary action which may include termination.”

Last week, Urban Outfitters shared an Instagram post in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. “To Our UO Community: You deserve better, and we commit to doing better,” it began.

The brand also promised to hire a “more diverse workforce” and “create a culture that values and respects anti-racism.” UO also pledged a $100,000 donation to UNCF, and to match employees’ donations to a number of other racial justice organizations.

Neither URBN nor Urban Outfitters immediately responded to Page Six Style’s request for comment.

Source: Read Full Article