Starbucks to close thousands of stores for ‘racial bias education’

There have been protests at the store claiming “Starbucks coffee is anti-black” and demands that the manager who called the police and the officers who arrested the men should be fired.

Starbucks said the employee who called police on the men no longer worked at that location.

Almost 175,000 employees will take part in the anti-racial bias trainings when the stores close, according to a statement from Starbucks.

Executive Chairman Howard Schultz joined Chief Executive Kevin Johnson in Philadelphia this week to meet with community leaders and the two men involved in the incident, a session the company and the men’s lawyer described as constructive.

Starbucks Coffee Company announced it will close more than 8,000 stores the afternoon of May 29 for unconscious bias training. While Starbucks declined to press charges, the damage to the company’s reputation had already begun to heat up.

More than 8,000 stores will be closed and training will be provided to almost 175,000 employees and incorporated into company training going forward, according to Starbucks.

Starbucks Corp. says the stores will be closed on the afternoon on May 29. A video that showed the two men being escorted out of the store in handcuffs was posted on Twitter and went viral. Johnson called the arrests “reprehensible” and said that he wanted to apologize to the men face-to-face.

Starbucks isn’t the only company introducing the training in an effort to combat discrimination. The men apparently asked to use the bathroom but were detained because they hadn’t bought anything and they refused to leave. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross stood by his officers’ actions, noting they were called to make an arrest and did so lawfully. The arrest of the men was captured on video and tweeted by Melissa DePino, a 50-year-old mother of two who told ABC News she has vowed not to patronize Starbucks again. But let’s face it, if this had happened to two homeless men, it wouldn’t be national news right now.

Nearly immediately, the footage went viral, with most social media users commenting that they did not believe the same treatment would be applied to white patrons.

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The company is also reviewing its current training and practices, and the resulting education materials, according to the statement, will be available for any other company to use, including the Starbucks stores owned by licensees.

Customers line up at Starbucks all the way outside