Next month, Starbucks is set to close all of its 8,000 stores in the United States for an afternoon to carry out “racial-bias” training for its employees.
The announcement follows an incident that happened last week where two black men were arrested at a Starbucks that is located in Philadelphia after employees accused them of trespassing, provoking people to accuse the coffee conglomerate of promoting racial discrimination.
Footage that was taken by smartphone of the altercation recorded that the men were being led away by police officers as on-lookers protested that the men had not done anything wrong.
An extensive online backlash surfaced, as #BoycottStarbucks began trending on Twitter.
As a response to the said incident, Starbucks issued an apology. In a statement that was released on Tuesday evening, the company explained that it would be launching a “racial bias training” for all of its 175,000 employees.
The said training would mean that all the stores of Starbucks in the United States will be closed for an afternoon on the 29th of May.
Kevin Johnson, the chief executive of Starbucks, stated: “I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it.
“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”
The racial bias training will be planned by “nationally recognised experts.” It will centre around stopping other discriminatory events taking place.
Earlier this week, the company also started a review of its training and practices.
Once the training is completed, Starbucks has said that it will share the education materials with other firms for use with their staff and leadership.