Amid continuing fallout and a growing boycott movement, Starbucks is taking concrete steps to address the arrest of two black men in a Philly store after viral footage of the incident surfaced. CEO Kevin Johnson has issued multiple apologies and expressed his desire to apologize “face-to-face” to the two men, who apparently did nothing other than request to use the restroom before the manager summoned law enforcement. Although that Starbucks manager is no longer with the company, Johnson has blocked out an entire afternoon for its stores to simultaneously conduct racial-bias education sessions.
That is, Starbucks will shut down all of its 8,000 stores nationwide for several hours on May 29, so that 175,000 workers can receive the training. Johnson has issued a statement, which reads in part:
“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.
“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.”
The simultaneous closing of all Starbucks stores during high-volume hours (at least in some markets) proves that the company is willing to lose some business (and, unavoidably, irritate some customers) in an effort to make things right. However, that amount of lost revenue pales in comparison to the ultimate financial hit that Starbucks could take in the case of further incidents like this one. Meanwhile, protests are still ongoing outside the Philly store where the arrests took place.
You can read the full Johnson statement below, courtesy of ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis.