Starbucks CEO apologizes on the Incident, promised to conduct training against discrimination


As different versions of videos were uploaded in the internet, Starbuck faces protests against the incident including two black men being arrested. This incident sparked the turmoil accusing Starbucks being anti-black. This is a major blow to the reputation of Starbucks being one of the top coffee chains in the world. Starbucks CEO released apologetic message on Good Morning America days after the incident happened.

Closer Look to what happened

The two men approached the staff for the bathroom key but they were not paying customers, so they were denied access to the bathroom. They waited for someone to arrive as they sat without ordering anything. Although policies in every branch varies, the manager asked the men to leave the store. Policemen were called by the manager but the two men refused to leave when the policemen asked them to leave. They were arrested in handcuffs for trespassing and brought out of the coffee shop. They were released since Starbucks declined to press charges to the two men. The decision of the manager to call the policemen complicated the incident.

Police have not released the names of the two men for confidentiality. However, these two black men have appeared in ABC’s “Good Morning America” to air their side. These two were revealed to be Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson.

Reactions and Protest over the issue

The store chain faces criticism on how the staffs handled the matter. This sparked many protest which caused some of the stores to close temporarily. On social medias like twitter and instagram, #BoycottStarbucks has been trending which has been used by many influential people and celebrities. While some says that Starbucks should not be blamed for the incident, others protested to boycott the coffee chain. Protesters walked and chanted in various locations of Starbucks in Philadelphia. The mayor of Philadelphia has been very much involved in the recent happenings. He ordered a city commission to review the policies of Starbucks and conduct a separate investigation after the arrest which caused negative reactions in social media accusing the company of racial discrimination.

via: ABC News | Protesters at Starbucks chant company is ‘anti-black’

Apologizes on the Incident

Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson, was interviewed on Good Morning America and spoke about the incident. In his interview, he said, “I’ve been very focused on understanding what guidelines and what training ever let this happen. What happened was wrong and we will fix it.” He also added, “My responsibility is to look more broadly at the circumstances that set that up, to ensure that this never happens again.” Starbucks announced to implement racial bias training to prevent incidents on discrimination against people of different color. Johnson wanted to have a dialogue with the two men and listen to their experience which greatly affects the solutions on the issue. He even added, “Every company makes mistakes, but great companies are the ones that learn from those mistakes and take
appropriate action.”

This is not the only incident that a company is involved in issues on race discrimination. Management must give proper training in dealing with these incidents. Although it is a case to case basis, all customers deserve utmost hospitality and not by handcuffing them. All parties must come to an agreement to the best way to resolve this issue. After all, two people were discriminated and a brand was stained.

Starbucks is definitely facing an image crisis with all the past incidences of their racial bias treatment towards their customers resurfacing. Do you have your share of experience with being discriminated because of your color? Share your story with us.

UPDATE [May 3, 2018] – Arrested Men at Starbucks Settle Case