Starbucks to close 8000 United States stores for racial sensitivity training

Marsha Scott
April 19, 2018

Starbucks will close all of its over 8,000 USA stores for an afternoon dedicated to racial bias training, the coffee company announced Tuesday amid an uproar.

The coffee chain plans to shut its more than 8,000 company-owned stores during the afternoon of May 29.

Protests have already hit the Philadelphia store where the men were arrested Thursday, and the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks trended on Twitter as video of the incident spread online. They went and sat at a table without making a purchase - not an unusual move, as any Starbucks-goer will attest, but grounds, the store thought, to be told to leave.

"The two young men politely asked why they were being told to leave and were not given a reason other than the manager wanted them to leave", she said.

A video has now emerged of a separate incident in which a black man says he was denied entry to a Starbucks toilet in Los Angeles, while a white man who had also not bought anything was given the bathroom code.

Starbucks said the curriculum for the training would be developed with input from several experts, including civil rights leaders and former US Attorney General Eric Holder.

Starbucks declined to prosecute and the men were released. He added that closing the stores for this training is an initial step to preventing future occurrences and offers a solution to the problem.

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In his first public comments since the arrests, Schultz, who stepped down as CEO past year but remains chairman of Starbucks' board of directors, told "CBS This Morning" that "the reason the call was made is because they were African-American".

"This is a crucial next step in fighting implicit bias", tweeted Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, another expert consulted.

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations is also investigating.

Footage showed officers taking the men away in handcuffs, as onlookers insisted the pair had done nothing wrong.

Once completed, the company will make the education materials available to other companies, including licensee partners, for use with their employees and leadership.

Starbucks' shares haven't seen much of an effect, but the company has called the arrests a "reprehensible outcome" and vowed to do better.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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