More than a month after two black men were arrested for “sitting in a Starbucks and not ordering anything,” the company revealed a new policy that permits all customer to sit in their cafes and use the restroom without having to make a purchase.
In a statement, the company admits their previous policies were “ambiguous,” claiming after the revisions it is encouraging employees to treat anyone who enters their stores as a customer “regardless of whether they make a purchase.”
This shift comes after a video was made public of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson being arrested inside a Philadelphia Starbucks for requesting to use the restroom. The two men were meeting a third man for a business meeting when a Starbucks employee called police and arrested them. The encounter sparked fury on social media and reignited conversation about racism. Both men later sued the company for an undisclosed amount and the city for a symbolic $1, with the city promising to pledge $200,000 into funding young entrepreneurs.
In addition to their new policy changes, Starbucks will also close 8,000 of its US stores during the afternoon of May 29 to participate in a racial-bias training. In their statement, the company says “we are committed to creating a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome.”