Starbucks To Close 8,000 US Stores For Racial Bias Training
Starbucks has announced that it will be closing 8,000 of its stores on May 29 for racial bias training. The announcement follows extreme backlash over the arrest of two black men who were waiting for a friend at a Philadelphia Starbucks location last week.
Starbucks estimates that close 175,000 workers will receive the training.
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According to Starbucks, the training will be developed with the guidance of experts on the matter, including former Attorney General Eric Holder, NAACP president Sherrilyn Ifill, and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.
Last Thursday, two black men entered a Starbucks in Philadelphia and asked to use the restrooms. An employee told them that the bathrooms were for paying customers only, at which point, the men sat at a table without ordering. The store manager then called the police, who arrested the men for trespassing. Then men say they were waiting for a friend, behavior that is not uncommon - many people will wait for the rest of their party to arrive before ordering at a restaurant or cafe.
CEO Kevin Johnson has been very vocal about his disdain for what happened on Thursday and has vowed to make sure Starbucks takes action to prevent similar incidents happening in the future.
"I've spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it," he said.
"Whilst this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution."
Protesters have appeared in various locations and many have vowed to boycott the chain because of the incident.
Johnson met with the men who were arrested and apologized to them for the treatment they received and ensured no charges were filed against them.