Kim Kizyma
Graphic Designer + Creative Technologist

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Starbucks messed up

I'm sure at this point you've heard of the Starbucks incident where two black men were sitting waiting for a colleague to show up so they could start a business meeting. They asked to use the bathroom and were asked to leave as they hadn't made a purchase. Instead of having their meeting, they got arrested by at least six police officers.

You have to consider that if this were two white men the police PROBABLY wouldn't have been involved. Come on.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson offered his "deepest apologies" for the outrage caused by the now viral incident:

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

Starbucks also tweeted a message.

"Attorney Lauren Wimmer, who represents the two men who were taken into custody, spoke with Action News about the incident.

She said her clients were innocently waiting for the third person to conduct a business meeting.

Wimmer said, 'It's what thousands of people do every single day across the country. Starbucks has cultivated this community where people can meet there whether you enjoy coffee or not.'

She said it was the manager at the Starbucks who called the police, and that her clients weren't doing anything wrong.

She also added the two men are traumatized and this is an egregious case of racism.

'In the end, this is a case of about race and companies like Starbucks will have to held accountable for discriminatory practices,' she said" (ABC 7).

kk