News and Commentary

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson Will Order Training Of Staff To Address ‘Unconscious Bias’

Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, said on Monday that the massive coffee company will order top managers to undergo training on how to spot “unconscious bias.”

The move comes after a video emerged of a racially-charged arrest of two black men. The video shows police speaking to — then arresting — the two men, who were shown simply sitting in the Starbucks waiting for a third member of their party before ordering coffee.

“I’ll say the circumstances surrounding the incident and the outcome at our store on Thursday were reprehensible,” Johnson said in an interview with ABC News’ “Good Morning America” on Monday.

“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,” Johnson said.

In a statement released late Saturday, Johnson expressed his “deepest apologies” for the incident.

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.

Johnson also said he hopes he can meet with the two men. CNN reported the men have agreed to meet with Johnson.

The timing of the meeting has not been set, according to a Starbucks spokesperson. The company said it hopes the meeting will occur this week while Johnson is in Philadelphia addressing the controversy over their arrests.

Philadelphia’s police commissioner, meanwhile, said that his officers were doing “nothing wrong,” and merely following the direction of Starbucks employees who said the men were trespassing and claimed both men had asked to use the bathroom but hadn’t purchased a drink.

Johnson’s apology is being well-received, but many progressives and fans of Starbucks are planning an all-out boycott of the coffee chain until more significant measures are taken, The Daily Wire reported on Sunday.