After arrests of black men, Starbucks CEO calls for training on ‘unconscious bias’


By Rachel Siegel and Alex Horton | Washington Post

The chief executive of Starbucks on Monday called for “unconscious bias” training for store managers and unequivocally apologized for what he called “reprehensible” circumstances that led to the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia store.

Starbucks’s chief executive Kevin Johnson said on “Good Morning America” that the company was reviewing the actions of the store manager who called the police. Johnson said that “what happened to those two gentlemen was wrong.”

“My responsibility is to look not only to that individual but look more broadly at the circumstances that set that up just to ensure that never happens again,” Johnson told GMA anchor Robin Roberts.

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Johnson, who flew to Philadelphia as protests broke out, said he hoped to meet with the two men to apologize and “show some compassion and empathy for the experience they went through.” Johnson said he also hoped to work with the two men “in finding a constructive way to solve this issue.”

NBC and CNN reported that Johnson was expected to meet with the two men. Exactly when the meeting would take place was not clear.

The manager who called the police on the two men no longer works at Starbucks, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The newspaper described a “mutual” decision between the manager and the company.

Protests continued on Monday at the Starbucks where the men were arrested, with crowds initially gathered outside only to be driven inside from heavy rains. GMA described the protests inside the Starbucks as “a stand in,” with NPR reporting chants of “Starbucks coffee is anti-black.”

About 6 a.m. Monday, a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter tweeted that roughly 40 protesters were at the Starbucks in a relatively upscale neighborhood of the city. One person in the crowd hoisted a sign that read “Is she fired or nah?” referring to the store manager who called the police. Others chanted “anti-blackness anywhere is anti-blackness everywhere.”

Rosalind Brewer, Starbucks’ chief operating officer, reiterated the call for unconscious bias training among store managers in a morning interview with NPR and called the incident a “teachable moment for all of us.” She said that as an African-American executive with a 23-year-old African-American son, the video was painful to watch.

“It would be easy for us to say …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

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