Starbucks came under fire after a video circulated of two black men being arrested for apparently doing nothing more than waiting inside one of its Philadelphia locations. The coffee chain is taking steps to try to ensure a similar incident is avoided in the future. The company announced it will close down its corporate offices and 8,000 nationwide stores on May 29 in order to provide its 175,000 employees with racial bias training.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson shared his own hopes for the training in an official statement. "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. "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 chain quickly issued an apology when video of the incident made waves over the weekend. As reports of the incident continued to come to light, it was alleged that the manager didn't actually ask the two men to leave before calling the police as previously claimed. Protests soon made their way inside the location, and the manager at the center of the controversy left Starbucks in what's been described as a "mutual" decision.
Johnson himself referred to the video as "hard to watch" and added that the police should have never been called in the first place.