Starbucks CEO Apologizes for Controversial Arrests

Posted: Apr 16, 2018 5:00 PM
Starbucks CEO Apologizes for Controversial Arrests

Starbucks is dealing with a PR disaster after two controversial arrests were made at one of the company's Philadelphia locations last week. Two black men were waiting for one of their friends in the store, located at 18th and Spruce Streets, before placing their orders. The manager, under the impression they were trespassing, had the men arrested. 

 Protests erupted outside of the store on Sunday. 

"A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap, Starbucks coffee is anti-black," according to the protesters.

Some of the signs included the hashtag #BLM for Black Lives Matter, while others read, "Coffee is black. Not Blonde."

The groups Philly REAL Justice and the Black & Brown Workers Cooperative scheduled another protest for Monday, entitled #ShutdownStarbucks.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson tried to stem the controversy by condemning the arrests as "reprehensible" in a series of apologies, the latest on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday. He reached out to the men who had been handcuffed, hoping they could use the incident for a greater good.

"I'd like to have a dialogue with them so that I can ensure that we have opportunity to really understand the situation and show some compassion and empathy for the experience they went through," he said. "Finally as we're working to solve this, I'd like to invite them to join me in finding a constructive way to solve this issue."

Johnson also said that the company has launched an investigation into the arrest and that he would order all Starbucks store managers to undergo "unconscious bias" training. 

He did not say whether the manager at the Philadelphia location would be fired.