T.I. & Russell Simmons Tells Their Fans: Boycott Starbucks
Starbucks is the latest company to receive backlash due to alleged racial profiling. Last week, two African American men walked into a Starbucks in downtown Philadelphia to meet a friend, but ended up being hand cuffed, escorted out, and arrested on suspicion of trespassing.
According to reports, the men had asked to use the restroom, but because they had not bought anything, an employee refused the request. They were eventually asked to leave, and when they declined, an employee called the police.
A viral video of the incident sparked the #BoycottStarbucks movement, which encourages people to stop giving their money to the coffee chain, and also encourages people to call or email the company to express their feelings about the incident. Russell Simmons, T.I. and other celebrities have taken to social media telling their fans to stop spending their money at Starbucks. In a post supporting the #boycottstarbucksmovement, T.I. writes
I aint spending no more bread wit em…. Urge yall not to either.
See more of T.I.’s posts below.
Simmons called on Starbucks to apologize to the black community, compensate the men arrested and have the manager that called the police take responsibility for their actions.
Since the video has gone viral, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has issued the following statement on the company’s website:
I’m writing this evening to convey three things: First, to once again express our deepest apologies to the two men who were arrested with a goal of doing whatever we can to make things right. Second, to let you know of our plans to investigate the pertinent facts and make any necessary changes to our practices that would help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again. And third, to reassure you that Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling.
Johnson then goes on to say,
We have immediately begun a thorough investigation of our practices. In addition to our own review, we will work with outside experts and community leaders to understand and adopt best practices. The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks Mission and Values. Creating an environment that is both safe and welcoming for everyone is paramount for every store. Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome—the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong. Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.
Do you think the coffee chain is sincere in their apology, or will you be retiring your Starbucks rewards card for good?