The Starbucks CEO issued a statement apologizing for the racist arrest of two black customers at one of the company’s Philadelphia locations, calling the incident “reprehensible.”
“Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling,” CEO Kevin Johnson said in the statement. He also included a public apology to the two men who were arrested.
A video of their arrest has gone viral with over 2 million views on Twitter. In the video, the two men could be seen being escorted out of the venue by six police officers.
“The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything,” tweeted author Melissa DePino. “They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing.”
“The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks Mission and Values,” Johnson said. “Creating an environment that is both safe and welcoming for everyone is paramount for every store.”
He added: “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. “
Johnson also said he hoped to meet the men in person and issue a face-to-face apology.
The video, which has caused an uproar on social media, has also prompted an internal investigation within the Philadelphia Police Department.