Starbucks in damage control
CEO to meet innocent busted black men
The two black men who were arrested at a Starbucks last week have agreed to meet with the coffee giant’s CEO, while the store manager who called the cops on them has left the location.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is scrambling to contain the uproar after the duo was busted at a Philadelphia Starbucks for “trespassing.”
The manager reportedly called 911 because the two men hadn’t ordered anything as they were waiting to meet a real-estate developer — who showed up the same time the cops arrived and was captured on video blasting the arrests as “absolute discrimination.”
In a Monday interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Johnson called the arrests “reprehensible” and said he hoped to meet with the two men face-to-face while he conducts an apology tour in Philly to head off a #BoycottStarbucks movement.
“As we’re working to solve this, I’d like to invite them to join me in finding a constructive way to solve this issue,” Johnson said.
The two men, who haven’t released a public statement and who remain anonymous, have reportedly hired a lawyer. They were released eight hours after their arrests and prosecutors said no charges will be filed against them.
In a video post Sunday, Johnson insisted Starbucks wouldn’t fire the white store manager who called the police.
“I believe the blame is misplaced,” Johnson said. “This is a management issue. I own it.”
Nevertheless, the store manager has left her position in a “mutual decision,” according to a Starbucks spokesperson. It remained unclear whether she had left the company or was moved to another location.
Protesters on Monday swarmed outside the Starbucks in downtown Philly, chanting, “Starbucks coffee is anti-black!”
Protesters have also called for the cops who arrested the men to be fired, but Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. said Saturday that the officers “did absolutely nothing wrong.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, meanwhile, slammed Starbucks, saying the incident “appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.”
It’s the first major race-related mess Starbucks has faced since its misguided “Race Together” publicity campaign in 2015, in which baristas were encouraged to strike up conversations with customers about race relations.
GROUNDS FOR RAGE: Protesters gather outside the Philly Starbucks where two black men were arrested while simply waiting.