Dillard’s Pulls Ads Over News Report

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Dillard’s Inc. pulled its ads from some CBS affiliates after the network aired accusations that the department-store chain racially profiles customers.

A March 25 broadcast of CBS’ “60 Minutes” featured accusations that Dillard’s (DDS) was biased against blacks and that store security guards had harassed and beaten black customers, including one who died.

A wrongful-death trial began in Houston Tuesday against Little Rock, Ark.-based Dillard’s and some of its guards. The chain has denied racial profiling and has said it doesn’t discriminate.

Dillard’s stopped advertising on CBS affiliates in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas. About a dozen stations told CBS’ headquarters in New York that Dillard’s had pulled ads. CBS is owned by Viacom Inc. (VIA).

Dillard’s wouldn’t address questions regarding the action or whether advertising had been pulled from other markets. “Due to the competitive nature of the business, Dillard’s does not discuss its marketing strategies or advertising strategies, and it does not discuss its marketing decisions or advertising decisions,” spokesman Skip Rutherford said.

It remained unclear whether Dillard’s would drop advertising from all CBS affiliates.

Two lawsuits filed in Little Rock last year by 13 black customers accused the chain of discriminating against blacks and suspecting them of shoplifting.

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