Hopefully all you Starbucks lovers out there have a coffee machine because on May 29th Starbucks will be closing that afternoon so around 175,000 of their employees can receive racial bias training.
Two African American men were waiting quietly in a Philadelphia Starbucks when one of the men, who had not yet purchased anything, asked to use the bathroom. According to the New York Times, “An employee refused the request because the men had not bought anything, according to officials. The men sat down and were asked to leave, and an employee eventually called the police.”
Their arrest was met with protest, some customers saying the men hadn’t done anything wrong and pointed out that the white customers were allowed to sit without buying anything without be handcuffed.
When the arrest was made, many customers were recording the incident. The scene has more than 10 million views on Twitter. In the video, the police officers appear to handcuff the two men as a third man, Andrew Yaffe, confronts them. Andrew Yaffe is a local Jewish Businessman who runs a real estate development firm.
Andrew was meeting the two men to discuss business investment opportunities. In the viral video, you can hear Andrew say to the police, “Why would they be asked to leave? Does anybody else think this is ridiculous? It’s absolute discrimination.”
The arrest prompted a hashtag on social media, #BoycottStarbucks, and protests at the store in Philadelphia's Center City.
Two days after the incident, Starbucks Chief Executive Kevin Johnson apologized to the men in a private meeting on Monday.
In a official statement on Starbucks Newsroom, Johnson says, “All Starbucks company-owned retail stores and corporate offices will be closed in the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29. During that time, partners will go through a training program designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.”
The company says the manager who called the police is no longer working at the store.