DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s a video that has gone viral, and now the man behind it says legal action is going to follow, after he says he was racially profiled at the Jordan Creek Old Navy.
James Conley III says he was a regular shopper at the Jordan Creek Old Navy, but Wednesdays trip to the popular store turned into embarrassment and humiliation
“For that to happen the way it did in front of the customers, it was really embarrassing and humiliating. That’s not the right thing you should do to a customer” said Conley.
Conley says what he experienced is not unfamiliar to men and women of color, but it was jarring nonetheless.
“I’m a frequent shopper there as well, so multiple times, I shop there weekly, all my clothes, all my kid’s clothes, everything is pretty much from Old Navy so for that to happen it really hit home for me” said Conley.
Now Conley says instead of shopping at Old Navy, he’ll be suing them.
“I will be filing a lawsuit, but like I said it’s bigger than money, or anything like that, this is a statement I’m trying to make to the nation and to the world” he said.
But what of the alleged policy the manager in the video quoted, that any customer wearing Old Navy branded clothing into the store must have it scanned? Mollie Barclay worked at the same store for three years, last working there in August; had she heard of it?
“No. That was not a policy when I worked there, people walk in with Old Navy clothing all the time, so that’s pretty abnormal” said Barclay.
In fact, Old Navy’s parent company, GAP Inc lists a customer bill of rights on its website saying in part:
“Profiling is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated…Gap strictly prohibits unreasonable searches and/or the profiling of customers by any employee…Employees who violate the company’s prohibition on profiling will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment”
Barclay says during her time there the store had lived up to that promise.
“They’re very into that. It’s a big poster in their break room. One time they fired someone because they were being rude to customers repeatedly. I would take it as a case by case basis, like individually, I can’t speak for every single person but overall, they’re a good company” said Barclay.
As for Conley, he’ll watch the legal process play out, and with it being the start of Black History Month, hopes his story will have an even greater impact.
“I think it definitely puts a spotlight on it. I really hope it just goes big and gets to everyone. This type of action needs to be condemned for anyone, but it being Black History Month I think it would” he said.
Channel 13 reached out to GAP Inc. to see the store had installed any scanning policy since Barclay left. They have not responded for comment.