The Starbucks response to two black men who were arrested in one of its stores could be a case study in how corporations act when called out for wrongdoing in 2018, especially when it's on video.
- Two unidentified black men were arrested Thursday in a Philadelphia store after a manager called the police on them for sitting down instead of leaving when told the restroom was only for paying customers.
- The incident was captured on video and went viral, spurring outrage and protests. [See the video]
- Starbucks officially apologized Saturday. CEO Kevin Johnson called the situation "disheartening" in a press release.
- Johnson called the arrests "reprehensible" Monday during an interview with "Good Morning America."
- Starbucks also confirmed that the manager is no longer with the company.
- Johnson privately apologized to the victims on Monday, according to The Washington Post.
- Starbucks announced today that all company-owned stores will close on May 29 for racial bias training. Roughly 175,000 employees will undergo the training, the company said.
- Helping develop the curriculum, per a company press release: "Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Heather McGhee, president of Demos; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and Jonathan Greenblatt, [CEO] of the Anti-Defamation League."
“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.”— Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson
Be smart: The quick and company-wide response, after fallout raced
through social media, shows a new normal in how fast events escalate
and companies respond.