The unnamed Philadelphia Starbucks manager, who called law enforcement on two black men two minutes after they sat down for a business meeting, has left the company. Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ executive chairman told CBS that the manager received death threats and feared for her safety.
Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, 23-year-old entrepreneurs, met inside the coffee shop to talk about a real estate deal. The two men decided to wait inside the shop for Andrew Yaffe, a third man who was en route. The New York Daily News reports the sit-down occurred two minutes before the manager called the police to arrest them and force the men to leave. Video of the arrest circulated on social media, triggering a boycott and protests outside the coffee franchise.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the reason that they (police) were called was because they were African-American,” Schultz told CBS’ Gayle King. “That’s not who Starbucks is.”
Feeling community pressure, Starbucks released a statement Tuesday (Apr. 17) announcing its closure of all 8,000 stores on May 29 for a company-wide “racial bias education” training. CEO of the company Kevin Johnson, also issued a public apology.
A local NBC affiliate also notes how Starbucks’ executive chairman is humiliated about the situation and is planning a meeting between the former manager and the two men.
“I’m embarrassed, ashamed. I think what occurred was reprehensible at every single level,” he admitted. “The announcement we made yesterday about closing our stores, 8,000 stores, to do significant training with our people is just the beginning of what we will do to transform the way we do business and educate our people on unconscious bias.”