Starbucks CEO calls arrest of two black men at Philadelphia store ‘reprehensible’

Starbucks apologized after two African-American men are arrested at one of its Philadelphia locations. The arrest, which was captured on video that has since gone viral, sparked accusations of discrimination and racial profiling. (File Photo)

(CNN) — Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson responded to public outcry over the arrest of two black men on Saturday from a Philadelphia branch of the coffee shop, calling the incident “reprehensible.”

The arrest, which was captured on video that has since gone viral, sparked accusations of discrimination and racial profiling.

In his statement, Johnson outlined steps the company would take to ensure a greater “sense of community.”

Below is Johnson’s full statement:

Dear Starbucks Partners and Customers:

By now, you may be aware of a disheartening situation in one of our Philadelphia-area stores this past Thursday, that led to a reprehensible outcome.

I’m writing this evening to convey three things:

First, to once again express our deepest apologies to the two men who were arrested with a goal of doing whatever we can to make things right. Second, to let you know of our plans to investigate the pertinent facts and make any necessary changes to our practices that would help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again. And third, to reassure you that Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling.

In the coming days, I will be joining our regional vice president, Camille Hymes — who is on the ground in Philadelphia — to speak with partners, customers and community leaders as well as law enforcement. Most importantly, I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology.

We have immediately begun a thorough investigation of our practices. In addition to our own review, we will work with outside experts and community leaders to understand and adopt best practices. The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks Mission and Values. Creating an environment that is both safe and welcoming for everyone is paramount for every store. Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome — the basis for the call to the Philadelphia Police Department was wrong. Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.

We also will further train our partners to better know when police assistance is warranted. Additionally, we will host a company-wide meeting next week to share our learnings, discuss some immediate next steps and underscore our long-standing commitment to treating one another with respect and dignity. I know our store managers and partners work hard to exceed our customers’ expectations every day — which makes this very poor reflection on our company all the more painful.

Finally, to our partners who proudly wear the green apron and to customers who come to us for a sense of community every day: You can and should expect more from us. We will learn from this and be better.

Respectfully,

Kevin Johnson

CEO

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2 comments

  • learnedmylesson25

    He has to say that or he will be put out of business.The rule of most restaurants is:you can’t hang out unless you buy something–or they know you.That goes for everyone.The difference is,whites would say,”You’re right sir,”and leave.

  • C

    I’m guessing that the whole incident was staged. The restrooms are a convenience for paying customers and not the general public that might just wander off the street. By the way, speaking of wandering in, did the friend ever show up or was he a figment of some protesters imagination as well? I haven’t seen or heard that he did anywhere.