Star­bucks in dam­age con­trol

CEO to meet in­no­cent busted black men

New York Post - - NEWS - By LISA FINKENSCHER

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.

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