Starbucks announced Tuesday it’s closing its some 8,000 U.S. stores during the afternoon of May 29 for “diversity training” because one employee in Philadelphia location called the cops on two black men who asked to use the bathroom.
So, naturally, that means the company’s other 175,000 or so workers, who’ve likely never called the cops on black men who wanted to use the bathroom, now have to sit through a seminar on how to not be a racist.
The whole thing started earlier this week when an employee at a Philly Starbucks told two black men that the store’s restroom was only for paying customers. Apparently, the two guys hadn’t bought the necessary Frappuccino.
The men reportedly explained they were just there waiting for a friend. The employee ended up calling the police, who showed up and arrested both men. Cell phone footage shows them being led out in handcuffs while police argue with several other customers (including the men’s aforementioned friend, who’s white).
If you haven't seen the full 8-minute video of the Starbucks arrest, please watch. Law enforcement clearly escalated the situation. Watch as one officer becomes increasingly agitated, while the two men remain calm. This is what bad policing looks like. https://t.co/B6z7iDt8j9— Pamela Colloff (@pamelacolloff) April 15, 2018
Starbucks promptly fired the employee who called the cops.
But rather than simply shake their heads at the poor judgement of one misguided (and probably college-aged) barista and the questionable police action that followed, activists have since showed up in the store with cameras and megaphones to hold protests condemning all of Starbucks as racist.
Protests begin inside Starbucks where two black men were arrested while waiting for a friend last week. pic.twitter.com/M87rukwz8O— John Kopp (@WriterJohnKopp) April 16, 2018
The immediate and hyperbolic overreaction brought such a storm of bad P.R., Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson quickly apologized and announced the company was holding a nationwide mandatory training "designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.”
"While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution," CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. "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."
So goes justice and discourse in 2018.