Starbucks announced on their website on Tuesday they will be closing all company-owned stores nationwide (more than 8,000 locations) for racial-bias education on May 29.
The news comes days after a Starbucks employee in Philadelphia called the police when two black men were accused of “trespassing” by sitting inside the store and not ordering anything. The men were subsequently arrested and escorted out by the police.
Though Police Commissioner Richard Ross defended the officers’ actions in a Facebook video, Starbucks quickly issued an apology following the arrest when the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks began trending on Twitter.
“We apologize to the two individuals and our customers and are disappointed this led to an arrest,” the company said in a statement on Saturday. “We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our stores. We are reviewing our policies and will continue to engage with the community and the police department to try to ensure these types of situations never happen in any of our stores.”
The training on May 29, which will take place in the afternoon, will be “geared toward preventing discrimination in the stores.”
“The training will be provided to nearly 175,000 partners (employees) across the country, and will become part of the onboarding process for new partners,” the statement reads.
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Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson says he has spent the last few days in Philadelphia, listening to the community and learning how to fix the issue.
“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he says. “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.”