Starbucks to give racial sensitivity training after viral arrest video

Police were called after two black men refused to leave a Philadelphia store

More than 8,000 Starbucks stores across the U.S. will close for an afternoon for “racial-bias education” after two black men were arrested in one of the Philadelphia locations last week.

A video posted to Twitter shows the two men being arrested for refusing to leave the Starbucks after an employee denied them a bathroom key, saying they needed to first buy something.

The police did not lay charges and are reviewing the incident.

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations is also investigating.

In a statement, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said he had apologized to the two men for what he called a “reprehensible” incident.

“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” said Johnson.

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

All American stores will close on the afternoon of May 29, so partners can take a program “designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.”


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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