Another racism scandal has shaken the United States after a footage of two black men being arrested in a Starbucks store went viral on the internet a few days ago. The men in question had entered the store and sat down on a table without ordering any drinks.
When the manager asked them to leave his store, the men insisted that they were waiting for a friend and refused to get up from the table. The manager decided to call 911 and when the police officers arrived, the two men were forced out of the store in handcuffs even though they had done absolutely nothing wrong.
Starbucks Accused of Racial Discrimination
Starbucks is caught up in yet another public relations nightmare as a new hashtag #boycottstarbucks gains popularity across the country in the wake of its recent racism scandal. A number of protestors marched to the coffee giant’s Philadelphia branch – where two innocent black men were arrested due to store manager’s racial profiling – with anti-racism signs that read ‘shame on Starbucks’ and ‘Starbucks is Anti-Black’.
Although this isn’t the first time a harassment incident involving a person of color has sprung up in Philadelphia, the video footage of this particular incident has spurred angry protestors to call for a worldwide boycott of the popular coffeeshop.
In the wake of the shameful incident, Starbucks has switched to damage-control mode, announcing a company-wide closure of all branches on the afternoon of May 29 to address the sensitive issue of discrimination and conduct a country-wide training to help employees make better judgement calls in situations involving race and culture.
In the announcement, a Starbucks spokesperson explained that the anti-discrimination training will be held in over 8,000 branches owned by the company to prevent any future incidents of racial discrimination and restore the public’s faith in the company.
All Stores Expected to Close for Anti-Discrimination Training
In the announcement, the company said that it was deeply sorry about the incident and considers it extremely important to provide excellence customer service to all, despite their race, gender or ethnicity, which is why it has decided to take the crucial step of addressing the issue of racial profiling and training more than 175,000 employees across the country to promote conscious inclusion.
The Seattle-based coffeeshop chain faced extreme backlash last week after the store manager of one of the Philadelphia branches decided to call the cops on two men who were sitting inside the store without buying anything.
The problem escalated when one of the men asked a staff member if he could use the restroom, but as per the company’s policy, the staff declined and said that only paying customers were allowed to use the bathroom.
The men explained that they weren’t ready to order anything yet because they were waiting for a friend who was arriving a little late. But instead of understanding the situation and letting the two gentlemen wait for their friend, the store manager decided to call the police and have them removed from his property.
Spectators watched in awe as the two men were handcuffed by the police and removed from store – an incident that many believed would have never happened to a white person.
A Public Apology
The CEO of Starbucks issued a public apology on Monday and announced that the store manager who had called the police to remove the two men from the coffeeshop had been fired for his poor judgement call. Kevin Johnson said that although racial discrimination is not limited to his company, he is still dedicated to making a bigger change across Starbucks and educate his employees why racial discrimination is considered a dangerous practice.
Johnson said that by closing all stores on May 29 for racial bias training, Starbucks wants to show its commitment towards fighting racism and being a part of a bigger solution.
The company has already launched an internal investigation to review its training and practices and make changes where needed to ensure that the employees in all stores are able to represent the company’s values by providing an inclusive environment to all customers.
The materials used for Coffee Giant’s racial bias training will be made available to all other companies as well so that they can join Starbucks in its effort to eliminate discrimination from the country.