Starbucks will close down more than 8000 company-owned branches in the U.S for an afternoon next month to educate its employees on “unconscious bias” following discrimination against two black men in one of its stores.
On May 29, nearly 175,000 staff, including future recruits, will receive training. According to Bloomberg, the closure affects half of its domestic stores and could cost around $17m in lost sales.
The two African American men arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks met with company CEO Kevin Johnson on Monday. Johnson, who condemned the “reprehensible” arrests on ABC’s Good Morning America, arrived in Philadelphia the same day amid growing controversy over the incident.
A Starbucks spokesperson said Johnson apologized to the men in a private meeting Monday, but provided no further details (The Washington Post).
@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci
— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018
The two men were arrested for trespassing after a manager called the police to report that they were sitting in the store without placing an order. The men said they were waiting to meet a friend. Although police detained the men, they found no evidence a crime was committed and no charges were filed.
On April 12, video of the incident posted on Twitter by Melissa DePino, who witnessed the arrests, led to millions of internet views and sparked an immediate controversy. The video led to protests from local activists, who occupied the store’s service area.
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