News and Commentary

ANOTHER Racially-Charged Starbucks Video Goes Viral

On Monday, more fuel was thrown on the already raging #BoycottStarbucks fire, as a second racially-charged video went viral featuring Starbucks employees denying a black man the code to the bathroom after having just given a white man the code.

The incident reportedly took place at a Starbucks in Los Angeles, where a man identified as Brandon Ward went into a store and asked to use the restroom before having made a purchase. He was denied. The video was posted online by racial activist Shaun King.

“Here we go again,” wrote King. “Meet Brandon Ward. He was @Starbucks – about to make a purchase – and needed to use the restroom. They denied him the code. He then finds a white man, Weston, who came out of the restroom. He had not made a purchase but they gave HIM the code. RACISM.”

USA Today notes that it’s unclear when exactly this took place. Someone on King’s feed provided the location:

The incident comes as the company’s CEO has gone into full-crisis management mode after a manager at a Philadelphia store called the cops on two black men on Thursday for sitting for less than 15 minutes without having purchased anything. The two men calmly refused to leave when the cops showed up and were arrested. The moment was captured by one of the stunned customers, who filmed the arrest of the two men, whom she said simply went in and used the restroom and were waiting to order until their friend arrived:

By the weekend, the store was being picketed by angry Philly residents and #BoycottStarbucks was trending on Twitter. Late Saturday, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued an apology, describing the manager’s decision to call the cops as “wrong,” and expressed the company’s commitment to fighting discrimination:.

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.

But as Fortune highlights, the apology fell flat for many, as the protests “Racist Starbucks”in Philly and online gained momentum:

Some Philadelphians thought Johnson’s apology was “too little, too latte,” as written on one protest sign, and met outside the Starbucks where the arrests took place to protest. Soon, people around the country and around the world were joining the call to #BoycottStarbucks and for the firing of the manager who called the police.

The Mayor’s Office, the Philadelphia Police, and Starbucks are all conducting separate investigations of the incident.

By Monday morning, Johnson realized that he would have to be even more hands-on and contrite in the response, appearing on “Good Morning America” to address the issue. “I’ll say the circumstances surrounding the incident and the outcome at our store on Thursday were reprehensible,” he said. “So, clearly, there’s an opportunity for us to provide clarity and in addition to that I’d say there’s training, more training that we’re going to do with our store managers, not only around the guidelines but training around unconscious bias.”

The manager who phoned the police has parted ways with the company. Meanwhile, Johnson’s offer to meet the two men from the Philly store incident has reportedly been accepted.

Below is some of the fallout online from the Los Angeles video:

Related: #BoycottStarbucks Situation Goes From Bad To Worse