Star­bucks to train work­ers for bias

The Maui News - - NATION -

PHILADEL­PHIA — Star­bucks wants to add train­ing for store man­agers on “un­con­scious bias,” CEO Kevin John­son said Mon­day, as ac­tivists held more protests at a Philadel­phia store where two black men were ar­rested af­ter em­ploy­ees said they were tres­pass­ing.

John­son, who has called the ar­rests “rep­re­hen­si­ble,” ar­rived in Philadel­phia this week­end af­ter video of the in­ci­dent gained trac­tion on­line. He said he hopes to meet with the two men in the next cou­ple of days and apol­o­gize face to face.

“I’d like to have a di­a­logue with them and the op­por­tu­nity to lis­ten to them with com­pas­sion and em­pa­thy through the ex­pe­ri­ence they went through,” said John­son, who has been CEO for about a year. Ste­wart Co­hen, the lawyer for the two men, said he hopes “some­thing pro­duc­tive for the com­mu­nity” can come out of such a meet­ing.

The in­ci­dent is a ma­jor blow to Star­bucks’ im­age, since the com­pany has pro­moted its cof­fee shops as neigh­bor­hood hang­outs where any­one is wel­come. Af­ter a video of the ar­rests spread on­line, the hash­tag #Boy­cottS­tar­bucks trended on Twit­ter.

And on Mon­day morn­ing, about two dozen pro­test­ers took over the Philadel­phia shop, chant­ing slo­gans like, “A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap, Star­bucks cof­fee is anti-black.” A Star­bucks re­gional vice pres­i­dent who at­tempted to talk to the pro­test­ers was shouted down.

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