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February 3, 2007

The Barclays backlash; call for retractions met with resistance, questions

Atlantic Yards Report

Barclays Capital is fighting back, sending strongly-worded letters to journalists who've written about the reported links between the company and slavery, and asking us to "immediately retract and cease making any further misrepresentations of this sort." Barclays two weeks ago announced a more than $300 million deal for naming rights to the Atlantic Yards arena, to be known as the Barclays Center.

I received a copy of the letter emailed to two different email addresses as well as hand-delivered to my workplace. The latter was delivered some five hours after I emailed several pointed questions to Barclays, asking for backup information. No response was forthcoming by the end of the day.
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I haven't written much about the slavery controversy, but here's what Barclays apparently objected to: in my 1/23/07 piece, headlined Barclays and slavery: the Times muddies the issue, I took the New York Times to task for not correcting or clarifying a passage that stated:
They also said Barclays profited from the slave trade yet is aligned with Ratner, who is marketing his team to African-American fans. A company spokesman said Barclays had not been involved in slavery.

"While Barclays may not have been directly involved in the slave trade, there's evidence that profits from the slave trade were foundational to the bank," I wrote, citing an article from London's Independent about a television series that "tells us that even banks like HSBC and Barclays relied on slaving profits for their foundation."

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Posted by amy at February 3, 2007 10:31 AM