Starbucks to close 8000 United States stores May 29, for Racial-Bias Training

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson responded to public outcry over the arrest of two black men from a Philadelphia branch of the coffee shop calling the incident

Starbucks has announced that it will close 8,000 company-owned stores on the afternoon of May 29 for "racial-bias education".

"On May 29th, we will close our company-owned stores in the United States to conduct racial-bias training in order to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, and prevent discrimination so everyone feels safe and welcome at Starbucks", the company said.

On April 14, the company issued a statement on their Twitter apologising for an incident in Philadelphia which saw two black men arrested for merely waiting for a friend inside a Starbucks.

In his first public comments since the arrests, Schultz, who stepped down as CEO past year but remains chairman of Starbucks' board of directors, told "CBS This Morning" that "the reason the call was made is because they were African-American".

Johnson did not directly answer a question from anchor Cheryl Casone on whether Starbucks would consider changing its "policy that customers have to buy something if they come into a store".

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Schultz confirmed the store manager who called 911 on the men has since left the company.

Police declined to press trespassing charges against the men that were later released. During that time, employees will undergo training created to "address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome". The manager is no longer employed by Starbucks. Jackson said he'd like to see the chain and other national companies take broader steps to combat inequality. I think I take it very personally as everyone in our company does and we're committed to making it right. After criticism from every nook and corner, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said that the arrests were "reprehensible". Isn't it fascinating how they went from "two men" to a "group of males"?

The closures cost the company an estimated $6 million, according to Schultz's 2011 book "Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul". The operator said she would send police.

The announcement on Tuesday comes after the arrests sparked protests and calls for a boycott on social media.

The officer told the caller that police would be out "as soon as possible".

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