FOR THE WEEK OF APR 23, 2018
Starbucks earns respect with quick, apologetic responses to a racial incident in Philadelphia
Read another article about a business (any size) and tell why it's in the news.
Look for coverage of a different social issue (such as sexism, bullying, road rage, littering, manners) and summarize what you learn.
Now find reporting on police or other law enforcers. Share an interesting fact or quote.
Starbucks is rebounding from a rough week that began with an embarrassing video of two African America men being arrested at one of its Philadelphia coffeeshops after a manager called police. They soon were freed without charges, but the incident sparked a national outcry, boycott suggestions, protests inside and outside the arrest site and numerous interviews by the company's chief executive, Kevin Johnson. He apologized personally to the pair, acknowledged "racial profiling" and ordered a shutdown of more than 8,000 stores May 29 so 175,000 employees can get anti-bias training. "Systemic bias is bigger than one partner, one store or one company," the chain says on Twitter. "We are shutting our stores for this training because we recognize that we have the responsibility to be part of the solution."
The white manager, an unnamed woman no longer working at Starbucks, called 911 on April 12 and said: "Two gentlemen in my café are refusing to make a purchase or leave." The 23-year-olds, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, later said they were 10 minutes early for an afternoon business discussion with a third man – who arrived as they were led out in handcuffs as trespassers. When he saw police come, Robinson recalls, he thought: "They can't be here for us." Johnson, the chain's leader, vows “any necessary changes to our practices that would help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again. . . . Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling. . . . And in looking at the tape, you ask yourself whether or not that in fact was racial profiling. . . . They didn't deserve that." He also met with Philadelphia's mayor, police commissioner, clergy leaders and other community representatives.
By week’s end, the controversy simmered down and the coffee giant gets praise for its contrite tone and swift actions. "Johnson had the right instincts," writes Bloomberg News business columnist Sarah Halzack. "He didn't try to pass this off as a regrettable but forgettable mistake by someone far down the Starbucks corporate food chain. He said in his video, 'I own it. This is a management issue, and I am accountable.' . . . He likely earned some goodwill with Starbucks's massive employee base by shouldering responsibility." The company also responds individually to social media critics with messages such as: "Addressing bias is crucial in ensuring that all of our customers feel safe and welcome in our store."
Starbucks says: "The police should never have been called. And we know we have to review the practices and guidelines to help ensure it never happens again." – Jaime Riley, company representative
Arrested patron says: "This is not just a black people thing; this is a people thing." – Rashon Nelson
Pennsylvania legislator says: "It is clear that African-Americans are not welcomed in that part of the neighborhood." – Rep. Jordan A. Harris, D-Philadelphia
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