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Business
18 Apr 2018

Racial Tolerance: Starbucks to shut 8,000 stores for an afternoon

Starbucks, the world's biggest coffee company, will shut down 8,000 of its stores across the US in the afternoon on May 29 to give lessons on racial tolerance to its 175,000 employees.

The move comes after two black men were unfairly arrested at its Philadelphia store on April 12 for "trespassing" when they were only waiting for a friend before ordering.

Here's more.

In context

Starbucks to close 8,000 stores on May 29

The incident

What happened?

It all started with a Starbucks employee called the police, saying "two gentlemen in my cafe that are refusing to make a purchase or leave." The worker who allegedly made the call has since been fired.

Another call was made by an unidentified man, requesting a supervisor because a "group of males" was "causing a disturbance".

Reaction

Massive social media backlash forces new CEO to apologize

A video shot by a customer at the spot has since gone viral on social media with netizens condemning Starbucks for racial profiling and asking users to boycott the brand.

The issue has snowballed into the nastiest controversy yet for the new Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, forcing him to apologize.

"The basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong," he admitted.

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Two black men being arrested at Starbucks for doing nothing

Damage control

Starbucks CEO has 'constructive discussions' with the two black men

Starbucks announced on Tuesday it would also provide training materials to non-company employees at its 6,000 licensed cafes.

According to Starbucks attorneys, the two black men were released without charges and Johnson engaged with them "in constructive discussions about this issue as well as what is happening in communities across the country."

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