Current News



Starbucks CEO apologizes for arrests of 2 black men at Philadelphia store as protests continue

Joseph A. Gambardello, Cassie Owens, Rob Tornoe and Samantha Melamed, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

PHILADELPHIA -- Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized Monday for the arrests of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks, saying what happened to the pair was "reprehensible."

The manager who called police to the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets on Thursday has left the company in what a company spokeswoman called a "mutual" decision.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News and in an appearance on "Good Morning America" from Philadelphia, Johnson said he hopes to meet with the men face-to-face to personally apologize for the incident and to ensure it is not repeated in the future.

As Johnson spoke, activists resumed protests at the Starbucks store where the men were arrested Thursday while waiting to meet with a white acquaintance. A video of the arrests went viral and sparked outrage.

"In watching the video, it was painful," said Johnson, who arrived in Philadelphia early Monday. "And that the incident that escalated and the outcome from it was reprehensible.

"It is my responsibility to ensure that we do a complete review and to make sure we understand how this could ever happen," he said.

Johnson said some local stores have guidelines for dealing with possible trouble. In this particular case, those were ambiguous, he said.

"That ambiguity was part of what caused the problem, the ambiguity about when and whether to call the police. There are situations where it's appropriate to call the police, situations where there are threats or disruptions in our store. This situation had none of that and these two gentlemen did not deserve what unfolded."

Johnson said managers will now receive training on "unconscious bias."

"The circumstances surrounding the incident and the outcome in our store on Thursday were reprehensible. They were wrong," Johnson said on "Good Morning America." "For that, I personally apologize to the two gentlemen that visited our store."


swipe to next page


blog comments powered by Disqus