Starbucks Is Closing Thousands Of Stores For Racial-Bias Training

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To counteract the wave of negative publicity generated by the incident, Starbucks announced it will close over 8,000 of its company-owned stores across the country on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29 for training purposes.

Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif protests inside a Starbucks on Sunday in Philadelphia.

In response to the arrest of two black men in one of its Philadelphia stores, Starbucks said Tuesday it will provide almost 175,000 employees with "racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores".

Just days after the arrest of two black men waiting for a friend at a Phildelphia Starbucks, a video recorded at a South Bay store earlier this year is raising new questions about the company's policy. Johnson apologized in person and talked with the men "about how this painful incident can become a vehicle for positive social change", the company and the lawyer said in a joint statement.

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Starbucks shares were up 0.6 percent at $59.81 in afternoon trading.

Almost 175,000 staff will receive the training, as will all future recruits.

Officials say they plan to close 8,000 USA stores for several hours next month to conduct racial-bias training for almost 175,000 workers. The company said the curriculum for the training is being developed with help from Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Heather McGhee, president of Demos; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League.

Johnson called what happened reprehensible and said more training is needed to address "unconscious bias".

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Curry's chief of staff, Brian Hughes, said the city is investigating the incident and will review the video . An angry and confused employee named Shaun shared a video after the ordeal happened on Facebook.

Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson appeared on "Good Morning America" Monday morning to repeat his apology and his desire to meet with the two men who arrested.

Amateur video showed police placing the pair, who were accused by shop staff of trespassing, in handcuffs. In a video posted to Twitter, other customers complained that the two men hadn't done anything wrong.

In 2015 a Starbucks public relations campaign to encourage customers to discuss issues of race backfired, when the company's big roll-out was widely mocked.

Johnson, who was interviewed from Philadelphia, said it was "completely inappropriate to engage the police".

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