Starbucks across America have faced criticism after two black men were arrested for trespassing in one of their stores. This led to a mass protest, and the CEO of Starbucks wants those who are angry to know that he has heard their complaints and he has a plan to rectify the issue. On May 29, over 8,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S. will close for racial-bias training.
“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,” the CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson said in a statement.
“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.”
All 175,000 employees will be mandated to participate in the training exercises. According to CNBC, the training will help prevent future racial discrimination incidents and will include help from former Attorney General Eric Holder.
The decision for this training comes after two black men were arrested and kicked out of the store after they asked to use the restroom in Philadelphia.
An employee told them the rest rooms were exclusively for paying customers. The two men sat in the store without ordering anything, prompting the manager to then call the police and have them arrested for trespassing, according to CNN.
Howard Schultz, who is the executive chairman for the coffee shop chain, echoed the same sentiments as the CEO. “We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
Johnson, who was appalled by the treatment of the two men, met with them in person and personally apologized for their mistreatment.
The manager who called the police on the two men has been removed from the store. Starbucks would not clarify if she had been fired or simply moved to another location.