Starbucks to close 8,000 stores May 29 for racial-bias staff training

Protestor Asa Khalif (R) addresses Starbucks Mid-Atlantic Regional Vice President Camille Hymes (C) on Monday in the Philadelphia Starbucks where police arrested two black men, prompting an apology from the company’s CEO.
Photo: Mark Makela (Getty Images)

After last Thursday’s arrest of two black men—who were waiting on a business meeting—for “loitering” at a Philadelphia Starbucks resulted in protests and a #BoycottStarbucks campaign, the chain has been on full-on p.r. cleanup duty. CEO Kevin Johnson made the media rounds yesterday from Good, Morning America to NPR saying that he wanted to meet the two arrested men (who were quickly released) in person and “make any necessary changes to our practices that would help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again,” as he said in a statement.

Today Starbucks announced what some of those changes will be: ABC News reports that Starbucks will close 8,000 stores on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias training. In a statement, Johnson said, “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.” The training will become part of the orientation process for new employees.


Meanwhile, ABC notes that “the city of Philadelphia has launched an investigation into additional ‘informal complaints’” at the Starbucks branch “where witnesses said two black men were arrested for doing nothing more than sitting at a table.”

Johnson did meet with the two men who were arrested in Thursday’s incident today. Their names have not been been released and they have made no statements to the public.

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Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.