Versace Store Profiles Minority Shoppers with Secret ‘Black Code’

Former Clerk cites encrypted message used to alert staff about customers in lawsuit against the company.


In a suit filed last month in the California Superior Court, a former Versace employee exposes what we all know; discrimination faced by minorities while shopping, but none the less find intriguing because of the methods certain institution use to implement it. Versace, the luxury retail operation, is being sued, accused of discrimination for its use of a secret “black code” to alert staff and security when a black shopper is in the store, court deposition alleges.

In a 30-page lawsuit the employee, hired in September 2016 in the San Francisco Bay Area store, explained how he came to use the code “D410,” a code also used by the brand to label black shirts in its inventory, to alert others when a black shopper is in the store.  He was instructed by the manager “to say ‘D410’ in a causal manner when a black person entered the store to alert co-workers.” 

Weeks later, the worker was fired by the manager because according to him, he hadn’t “lived the luxury life,” and as TMZ reported, fired because he told the manager that
he was African-American.

Denying all the allegations, Versace has filed a dismissal of the suit, filed as the worker seeks compensation for unpaid wages and damages.

Its been quite a year for the luxury retailer for this is the second time it is publicly battling claims of racism having been slammed earlier this year for promoting teen pregnancy with critics blasting its ad campaign in June featuring super model Gigi Hadid, 21, with a black male model walking a child old enough to be in the first grade, indicating an extremely early pregnancy. The most biting critism was when critics labeled the ad “Teen Mom: Versace Edition.”

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