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Starbucks closes stores for ‘racial bias training’

Starbucks closes stores for ‘racial bias training’

The news comes following an incident in which two black men were arrested at one of the coffee companys stores.

Starbucks closed its US stores for the day on May 29 to offer a company-wide “racial bias training.”

A manager called 911 leading to the arrest of Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson who had asked to use the restroom but hadn’t purchased anything.

The announcement came after founder and former CEO Howard Schultz admitted he was “embarrassed and ashamed” following the arrest of two black men for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week.

The two men were waiting for a friend when the manager of the store called the police.

“I think what occurred was reprehensible at every single level,” Mr Schultz told CBS News on Wednesday.

“The announcement we made yesterday about closing our stores (8,000) to do significant training with our people is just the beginning of what we will do to transform the way we do business and educate our people on unconscious bias.”

Schultz, who is currently executive chairman of Starbucks, added that the firm is working alongside the NAACP and Equal Justice Initiative to assist company efforts to reduce unconscious bias in employees.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the reason that they (the police) were called was because they were African-American,” he said. “That’s not who Starbucks is.”

The coffee company apologized over the incident after protesters called for a boycott of the Starbucks chain.

Mr Schultz said that the two black men from Philadelphia might also be offered jobs with Starbucks in the near future.

Days after Starbucks apologized to the Philadelphia men, mobile phone footage emerged of another apparent race-related incident at a Starbucks store in California in which a paying black customer was barred from using the bathroom.

“Perhaps something good can come out of this and by that I mean, this has highlighted for us that we have more work to do as a company,” Mr Schultz said in response to both incidents.

Watch the anti-bias training video vía CNN Money.