Starbucks announced Tuesday it will close more than 8,000 stores on May 29 to conduct racial bias training with employees after two black men were ordered to leave one of its Philadelphia stores.
"I've spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it," said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. "While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities."
Nearly 175,000 employees will take part in the training, which will only take place during an afternoon.
"The company's founding values are based on humanity and inclusion," said Howard Schultz, the company's executive chairman, who joined Johnson and in Philadelphia to meet with community leaders.
"We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer," he said.
The move comes after a video showing police arresting two men for allegedly trespassing went viral.
In the video, officers are seen surrounding two men at Center City Starbucks. After a few minutes, the officers handcuffed them and led them outside.
"The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks mission and values," Johnson said in a statement.
According to reports, one of the men asked to use the restroom, but an employee denied the request saying they had not bought anything.
They were eventually asked to leave the location but refused and the employee called the police.
It didn't take long for public outrage to erupt, with many calling for protests and boycotts against the coffee chain.
Among those protesting is Philadelphia-based author and radio host Rev. Solomon Jones, who told CBN News Starbucks' training day is a good start.
"I’m glad Starbucks is closing its stores on May 29 for racial bias training. And while that's an encouraging start, one day of training is not enough to root out centuries of racism. That's why I've joined local activists in calling for confirmation that the manager who called police has been fired from the company, and not just moved to another store," he said. ". I also join them in calling for an increased number of black and brown managers at Starbucks. Until those things take place, I believe Starbucks should be boycotted, and the people of God should pray that this action is the beginning of a turning away from the sin of racism in our society."
However, Police Commissioner Richard Ross said his officers did the right thing.
"These officers had legal standing to make this arrest," Ross said. "These officers did absolutely nothing wrong. They followed policy. They did what they were supposed to do. They were professional in all their dealings with these gentlemen — and instead, they got the opposite back."