Starbucks to shut US stores for racial-bias training

A Starbucks logo is seen at a Starbucks coffee shop in Seoul South Korea

The coffee chain said it will shut more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. on the afternoon of 29 May to carry out training "geared towards preventing discrimination". Starbucks also said the employee who called police no longer works at the store, but declined to give details. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson called the arrests "reprehensible" and said he wanted to apologise to the two men face-to-face. The incident illustrated the bias that can affect even the most normal activities such as meeting someone for coffee in the United States public spaces.

A white manager at the location called 911 on the two men who hadn't ordered anything because they were waiting for their third friend to arrive. Today, with more than 28,000 stores around the globe, Starbucks is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world.

The curriculum will be designed "to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome", Xinhua quoted Starbucks as saying in a statement.

The company said that 175,000 workers would receive this training, which former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder and other experts would have a hand in designing, CNN Money reported. Video footage of the arrests went viral over the weekend, sparking a frenzy of outrage on social media. The caption of the video on Twitter said, "The police were called because these men hadn't ordered anything".

Starbucks is facing fresh controversy after a black man was allegedly refused entry to a toilet - as the firm revealed it will close thousands of its shops to conduct "racial-bias education".

Starbucks apologized to the two men earlier this week.

Tiffany Dena Loftin-Director of the Youth and College Division at NAACP said that it is good that Starbucks is giving staff training on 29 May, But, police accountability should also be a focus, which as per Loftin is the actual problem. The two men were arrested for trespassing. The Starbucks located inside the Vons supermarket in Big Bear Lake is licensed by Vons and would not fall in the category of company-owned stores.

But that was "too little too latte" for a group of protesters who gathered at the store in Philadelphia to chant: "I am somebody, and I demand equality now".

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