Starbucks addresses Philadelphia controversy with racial-bias training
Starbucks is set to close its more than 8,000 US stores, along with corporate offices, after an incident in which two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia location. Coffee will not be flowing during the afternoon of 29th May, when racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in stores will be provided to nearly 175,000 employees. This will also become part of the onboarding process for new staff.
The aforementioned men were arrested for trespassing while waiting for a friend at the Philadelphia store, with the manager complaining that they had not made a purchase. Both men were released shortly after their arrest, which was captured on mobile phone camera. They have each retained lawyers, according to US media.
“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,” says Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”
"The company's founding values are based on humanity and inclusion," adds Executive Chairman Howard Schultz. "We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer."