Starbucks will now open its bathrooms to the public, whether or not they’re paying customers, the company’s chairman Howard Schultz has announced.
The company made the announcement following the backlash against a Starbucks manager in Philadelphia, who phoned the police on two black men who wanted to use the toilet.
Two black men, business partners Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, both 23, were arrested on April 12 as they sat in a Philadelphia Starbucks after not buying anything and asking to use the bathroom.
The store manager called the police after asking them to leave — a “terrible decision,” Schultz said.
Video of their arrest sparked outrage on social media and accusations of racial bias.
Protesters stood outside and inside the Philadelphia Starbucks store where the arrest occurred.
“We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision 100% of the time and give people the key, because we don’t want anyone at Starbucks to feel as if we are not giving access to you to the bathroom because you are less than,” Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz said at the Atlantic Council.
“We want you to be more than.”
Speaking about the Philadelphia incident, Mr Schultz added: ‘We absolutely wrong in every way.
‘It’s the company that’s responsible.’
On May 29, all 8,000 American Starbucks will close for the afternoon for its 175,000 staff to do a racial awareness course.
Mr Schultz added: ‘This will be the largest kind of training of its kind on perhaps one of the most systemic subjects and issues facing our country.’