The chief executive of Starbucks has personally apologized to two black men who were arrested while waiting at one of the coffee chain’s stores last week, an incident that triggered heated protests and calls for a boycott.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized in a private meeting with the two men Monday, a company spokeswoman confirmed to The Washington Post. The spokeswoman, Jamie Riley, did not provide any additional details.
Johnson, who rushed from Seattle to Philadelphia over the weekend as the backlash erupted, also met with Philadelphia’s mayor and police commissioner.
The chief executive has called for “unconscious bias” training for Starbucks store managers and publicly apologized for what he called “reprehensible” circumstances that led to the arrest of the two men at a store in Philadelphia’s Center City district Thursday.
“I will fix this,” Johnson said in a video message.
Separately, he told “Good Morning America” that “what happened to those two gentlemen was wrong” and said the company was reviewing the actions of the store manager who had called police.
“My responsibility is to look not only to that individual but look more broadly at the circumstances that set that up just to ensure that never happens again,” Johnson said Monday.
Starbucks said later that the manager “is no longer at that store.”
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Rachel Siegel, Alex Horton