Starbucks To Close More Than 8,000 Stores In US On May 29, To Give Racial Bias Education To Employees

| April 18 , 2018 , 13:36 IST

Caught in a major controversy and a storm of criticism over the racial incidence at one of its outlets in Philadelphia, Starbucks on Wednesday said that it would shut down all its stores in the United States on April 29 for a racial bias education.

Last week a Starbucks employee called 911 and caused the arrest of two African-American men at a Starbucks, resulting in calls for a boycott of the coffee chain.

Philadelphia police released the recording of the 911 call in which the Starbucks employee can be heard saying, “I have two gentlemen in my cafe that are refusing to make a purchase or leave. I am at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce.”

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Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson had on Tuesday apologized for the incident and as per the company was engaged in a constructive discussion about the issue with the two men involved in the incident.

In a video statement Johnson said, “On the afternoon of May 29th, we are closing all 8,000 plus US Company-operated stores in the United States for a mandatory training around unconscious bias, conscious inclusion and ensuring that we take every step we take so that every single customer that walks in our door feels welcome and safe.”

The curriculum for the training will be designed by thought leaders from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Attorney General, and others. The company says it will also make the education material available to others, once prepared.