Starbucks CEO apologizes for unfair treatment of black men

Adjust Comment Print

The company made the announcement this week via their official Twitter saying, "we'll close USA company-owned stores to conduct racial-bias training to address implicit bias & prevent discrimination".

The announcement Tuesday comes after the arrests sparked protests and calls for a boycott on social media.

The company said it is "ashamed" of what happened at the Philadelphia location. The racial bias training will be mandated to 175,000 of Starbucks' workers. At one point, officers request "another unit along with a supervisor" for help dealing with a two men "causing a disturbance" at the coffee shop. Starbucks will involve these experts in monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the measures we undertake.

It begins with a Starbucks employee reporting "two gentlemen in my cafe that are refusing to make a purchase or leave".

In a statement from the company, Starbucks stores across the country will be closed on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29.

As the world has heard and saw, at least six Philadelphia police officers arrested two Black men at Starbucks after an employee called 911.

Gordon called the decision to hold the May 29 training sessions "the most practical way to get word out to all employees, the same way at one time". I think I take it very personally as everyone in our company does and we're committed to making it right.

Schultz also confirmed reports that the manager who summoned law enforcement to the store is no longer working for Starbucks, and he has "no doubt" that the call was made because the men weren't white. "We're taking a hard look at who we are as a company". The company said it will develop the training with a group that includes former Attorney General Eric Holder and Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

However U.S. race relations have proven more challenging, even for a company that touts its diverse workforce - minorities account for 18 percent of Starbucks executives with the title of senior vice president or higher and 43 percent of employees overall.

The (estimated) cost could well be worth it for the coffee behemoth, as it faces opprobrium in its home - and biggest - market after a manager summoned police after two men waited at a Starbucks table without ordering.