Starbucks is under fire once again after a Black man said he was the target of racial profiling by employees at a store in Brandon, Florida, ABC Action News reports.
Lorne Green, 44, said he entered the coffee shop on April 22 and decided to use the restroom before placing an order. A public insurance adjuster, Green often frequents the West Brandon Boulevard store, where he conducts business meetings.
As he walked into the restroom, Green said he heard an employee say, “The big Black guy is headed for the bathroom.”
Once in the restroom, Green says he was asked “do you need us to call fire and rescue” as employees banged on the door. He claimed communication from the employees was a “pretext” for getting him to leave the store.
“I have never experienced anything like this to this degree. This is extreme,” he told the local television outlet.
After hearing an employee repeat that there was a Black man in the bathroom, he called Starbucks Corporate out of fear for his safety.
“Referring to me being a big Black man, I mean it was a big alert for me,” said Green.
During his recorded conversation, Green recounted his claims of racial profiling with a corporate employee in an attempt to report the incident in real-time.
Green’s attorney, Jasmine Rand, played two minutes of the recorded conversation for members of the media during a news conference.
While Green was in the restroom, one of the employees called the police.
Hillsborough deputies responded to the call and issued Green a trespassing ticket at the request of the store, Fox 13 reports.
Rand said her client would be filing a lawsuit because the company made a change to its public policy allowing anyone, even those who have not made a purchase, access into the coffee shop’s restrooms. “All my client did was use the bathroom while Black,” she said.
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Jasmine Washington is a beauty-obsessed journalist by day and a trap music connoisseur by night. A lifelong New Yorker, she got her start as an intern at the now-defunct Juicy Magazine. Jasmine joined the EBONY.com team as a writer, penning daily stories on all things Black culture and entertainment.