Starbucks’ CEO has taken full responsibility for the Thursday arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia store
Blowback against a Starbucks in Philadelphia where two black men were arrested for trespassing last week is continuing, as protests have effectively shut the store down. Starbucks’ CEO issued a statement taking full responsibility for what he called a “reprehensible” incident, but that hasn’t appeased Black Lives Matter and other protesting groups in Philly, who are calling for the store manager who called the police to be fired.
A viral video showed police leading the two men out of the Starbucks last week, as people around them insisted they had done nothing wrong. According to reports, the store’s manager called 911 after the men asked for the code to use the restroom. They were told the restroom was only for paying customers, and they returned to their table, where they were waiting to meet a business associate, who arrived as they were being handcuffed.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has since issued a public statement outlining how Starbucks is changing its policies to “help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again.”
“Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling,” Johnson said in his statement, released Saturday. “I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology.”
Johnson also said the store manager was not to blame for the arrest; rather, he had followed Starbucks’ policies and those need to change.
“The basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong,” he continued. “Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.”
The company also tweeted an apology.
The response hasn’t been enough for protestors who believe the manager’s 911 call was a result of racial profiling, and that police never would have become involved had the two men been white. Photos and videos of their protests at the Starbucks location where the arrest took place have been flooding Twitter today.
Protestors have called on customers to donate their coffee money to organizations that fight for racial justice in Philadelphia.
And a manager at the location was addressed directly by protestors who are intent on shutting the store down for good. It’s unclear of the manager at the store today was the same manager who called 911 last week.
As protests have been occurring, police have maintained a steady presence at the store, according to some tweets.
A few hours after protests began, reports on Twitter started saying that protests had completely taken over the store, and that all customers and employees had left, with the exception of corporate employees, who protestors were demanding accountability from.
As of press time, protests are still ongoing, and reports say the manager of the Philadelphia store has now been fired.
But how Starbucks will change the overarching company policies it says made this happen still remains to be seen.