About two dozen activists protested inside a Philadelphia Starbucks today, days after police there arrested two African-American men whom store workers accused of trespassing.
The coffee giant is responding to backlash following viral footage of the incident, including the trending Twitter hashtag #BoycottStarbucks, by calling last week’s arrests a “reprehensible outcome.”
Starbucks says it is investigating the incident and that CEO Kevin Johnson and Regional Vice President Camille Hymes will be in Philadelphia to talk with company employees, customers, community leaders and law enforcement.
@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018
“Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome—the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong,” Johnson said in a statement. “Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did. “
Johnson said the company will add employee training to “better know when police assistance is warranted” and that Starbucks will hold a company-wide meeting this week to discuss immediate next steps.
Protesters, meanwhile, are calling out the coffee chain—known for touting its stores as safe and welcoming “third places”—as anti-black.
"We don't want this Starbucks to make any money today. That's our goal," Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, one of the protest's organizers and co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Collective, told The Associated Press.
We apologize to the two individuals and our customers for what took place at our Philadelphia store on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/suUsytXHks— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) April 14, 2018
Photo credit: Associated Press
Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.