LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) Chief Executive Kevin Johnson hopes to meet with the two black men arrested at one of its Philadelphia cafes last week to apologize for the incident, which has sparked accusations of racial profiling at the coffee chain.
The men, who had not made a purchase, were handcuffed and arrested for trespassing on Thursday after a store manager called 911 and reported them for refusing to leave. Witnesses said the men were calmly sitting in the cafe and in a widely viewed video, some patrons asked police whether they were targeted because they are black.
Police released the men, who were not charged.
“The circumstances surrounding the incident and the outcome in our store on Thursday were reprehensible … they were wrong,” Johnson told ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday, amid protests and calls for a boycott on social media.
The female manager who reported the men to police has left the company, a Starbucks representative said.
The incident came at a time when the company is grappling with flat traffic and lackluster sales growth at its more than 14,000 U.S. cafes. It is a high-profile public relations test for Johnson, a former technology executive who took the helm at Starbucks roughly a year ago.
Johnson, who was interviewed from Philadelphia, said it was “completely inappropriate to engage the police.” He added that Starbucks would conduct training to prevent unconscious bias.
Representatives for the two men could not immediately be reached.
Protesters crowded the store that was the scene of the arrest on Monday morning. It was closed at around midday. More protests and a news conference are expected in the afternoon.
The Reverend Mark Tyler, part of an interfaith group organizing a protest on Monday afternoon, said he had not heard reports of similar issues at other area Starbucks. Still, he said, “the idea of black people being unwanted in downtown Philadelphia is not new … this is the underbelly of gentrification.”
Disney heiress who went undercover to Disneyland ‘livid’ at conditions and pay
Heiress Abigail Disney went to one of her family's resorts to see conditions for workers herself and was disgusted by what she saw.
In comments to Yahoo News podcast "Through Her Eyes," Disney described how she went to Disneyland in California undercover and found that workers at the resort were treated poorly—and underpaid.
"Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, 'I don't know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people's garbage,'" said Disney.
Ex-Peru president wanted for corruption arrested in the US
Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo was arrested in the United States Tuesday to face extradition to his home country on corruption charges, authorities in the South American nation said.
The 73-year-old is suspected of involvement in the sprawling Odebrecht scandal in which the construction giant paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes throughout the continent to secure huge public works contracts.
The Peruvian attorney general's office announced on Twitter that Toledo "was arrested this morning for extradition, in the United States."
Toledo has been formally charged with receiving a $20 million payment from Odebrecht to grant it the tender to build the Interoceanic Highway that links Peru with Brazil.
Comic-Con mines past for future hits on 50th edition
A smorgasbord of sequels, prequels and reunions from "Terminator" to "Game of Thrones" awaits thousands of misty-eyed comic book geeks and sci-fi nerds descending on San Diego this week for the world's largest celebration of pop culture fandom.
The 50th edition of Comic-Con International will see 135,000 cosplayers, bloggers, movie executives and humble fans pile into a sweaty convention center for glimpses of their heroes, in town to promote the next mega-hit films, TV shows and comic books.
This anniversary edition promises to be more nostalgia-laden than most -- among those expected to appear are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, who will soon reunite on screen for the first time since 1991's "Terminator 2" for Paramount's killer cyborg sequel "Dark Fate."