A viral video of two Black men being arrested by police for waiting at a Starbucks has led to a call to boycott the coffee chain, prompting the CEO to issue an apology.
The incident happened at a Starbucks location in Philadelphia on Thursday when the men were arrested for trespassing after sitting in the store without ordering.
Customers who witnessed the incident said that the men were waiting for another man to arrive.
@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
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has “personally apologized” to the two men he told Robin Roberts on Good Morning America on Monday.
“I’d like to have a dialogue with them so that I can ensure that we have the opportunity to really understand the situation and show some compassion and empathy for the experience they went through,” he said. “Finally as we’re working to solve this, I’d like to invite them to join me in finding a constructive way to solve this issue.”
FULL INTERVIEW: "I personally apologize…" Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson one-on-one with @RobinRoberts in his first interview after two black men were handcuffed at a Philadelphia store.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 16, 2018
Johnson would not say if the store manager will be fired over the incident, but said that the company would be working on fixing the situation, to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
“My responsibility is to look not only at that individual but to look more broadly at the circumstances that set that up, to ensure that this never happens again,” he said on Monday.
On Monday, protesters went to the Starbucks where the incident occurred chanting “Starbucks coffee is anti-black.”
Protests begin inside Starbucks where two black men were arrested while waiting for a friend last week. pic.twitter.com/M87rukwz8O
— John Kopp (@WriterJohnKopp) April 16, 2018
The men haven’t spoken publicly about the incident, but their attorney told CBS News that his clients were racially profiled.
“When I walk in and I don’t order anything and I’m dressed like this, no manager is calling the police on me,” their Stewart Cohen told CBS News. “If they were white, would this have happened? None of the white customers were asked to leave, and they were there a lot longer than those young men who were just there for a few minutes.”
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.