Starbucks to close USA stores for racial-bias training

19 April, 2018, 02:55 | Author: Darnell Patrick
  • Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross speaks at a news conference about the shooting of Police Officer Jesse Hartnett 33 who was ambushed and allegedly shot at 13 times by Edward Archer 30 the night before on Jan. 8 2016 in Philadelphia. (C

Starbucks Corp will close 8,000 company-owned USA cafes for the afternoon on May 29 so 175,000 employees can undergo racial tolerance training in response to protests and calls for boycotts after the arrest of two black men waiting in a Philadelphia store.

Starbucks said the training for its 175,000 employees will be developed with guidance from experts including former attorney general Eric Holder. And on Monday morning, about two dozen protesters took over the Philadelphia shop, chanting slogans like, "A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap, Starbucks coffee is anti-black". The incident illustrated the bias that can affect even the most normal activities such as meeting someone for coffee in the U.S. public spaces.

The woman who called police was reportedly the manager of the store.

Schultz told King that he spent time with the manager and that she "recognizes that perhaps that call should not have been made". The company was the subject of a social media boycott this week after Twitter users accused the employee who called the police of racism.

Following the announcement of nationwide racial-bias training at Starbucks (which will simultaneously close all 8,000 stores for an afternoon), Executive Chairman Howard Schultz is expressing his anguish over the recent incident that led to widespread backlash.

The two men entered the Starbucks on Thursday and asked to use to the bathroom.


A sign stating "Shame on you Starbucks!" is posted across the street from the Centre City Starbucks, where two black men were arrested in Philadelphia.

Responding to national outrage, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson called the arrests "reprehensible" and said he wanted to apologize to the two men face-to-face.

The Starbucks at Suburban Plaza will close, an employee said. But that training focused more on making the flawless latte as the company struggled with sputtering sales. Still, he said, "the idea of black people being unwanted in downtown Philadelphia is not new. this is the underbelly of gentrification".

Also on Tuesday, Philadelphia police released the 911 call, as well as dispatches and other transmissions that provide a timeline of events.

The officer told the caller that police would be out "as soon as possible".

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