Shortly after arriving at a Philadelphia PA Starbucks Store (the Rittenhouse Square) location, two black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, were approached by police officers and handcuffed. The officers told the men they were trespassing and had to leave immediately. Because of these events, CEO of Starbucks Kevin Johnson is closing over 8,000 stores on May 29th. There will be a mandatory racial discrimination training.
Nelson and Robinson came to the Starbucks on Thursday, April 12th for a business meeting on Real Estate. It was to be a life-changing event. Little did they know their lives would not be the same after this meeting. They were there to meet businessman Andrew Yaffe, of American Business partners. Nelson, upon entering the coffee shop, needed to use the restroom and asked someone at the counter where the location was. The person told him that the bathroom was for paying customers only.
Social Media Helps Spread Racial Bias at Starbucks Stores
At the time, Nelson thought nothing of it. Then another employee of Starbucks came up to the two men and asked if they would like to order something. The two of them declined because they had brought water bottles with them. This action is what apparently warranted the employee into making the phone call to the police. During the event that was taking place, a woman customer was videotaping and posted it on social media. The video went viral. In the video, Yaffe, the person Nelson and Robinson were meeting, walks in and questions what was going on and why they were being arrested.
The CEO of Starbucks Kevin Johnson went public to state that he was very apologetic about the situation that occurred and wanted to meet in person with Nelson and Robinson. He is also closing all of his stores and implementing a new program into the workplace regimen. On Monday, April 16th, there were people outside Rittenhouse Square Starbucks protesting to boycott this company. Even under the unforeseen bad circumstances, Robinson is still upbeat and states, while he is happy for the support, he does not believe that boycotting Starbucks Stores is the solution.