Starbucks has announced that they are now changing their bathroom policy after a series of controversial incidents recently. They used to force anyone who wanted to use the bathroom to buy something first. Now they will allow anyone to use the bathroom in a company-wide move that is already making major headlines across the country. It all started last month in a Philadelphia Starbucks.
Donte Robinson and his friend Rashon Nelson found themselves sitting in Starbucks in Philadelphia recently. They were minding their own business, but for some reason they hadn’t bought anything from the store.
One of the men realized that he had to use the bathroom, but he was denied by the barista. So he went back and sat with his friend, thinking all was well.
Moments later, both of the men were taken away in handcuffs for apparently violating the law. The manager had called the police on the two men. Not long after pictures of this incident went viral, another incident rocked Starbucks public relations team.
A black California native shared another incident that happened at Starbucks. Once again, it involved their now-defunct bathroom policy. The man apparently was not allowed to use the bathroom at a Torrance, California Starbucks, but he claims that a white man was allowed in just moments later.
Now that they have gotten rid of their restrictive bathroom policy, they are now open for business as essentially a public bathroom. It was an easy way to save face after these PR nightmares, but who knows what it could lead to in the long run.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson was reportedly very embarrassed by the arrests of Nelson and Robinson. He even flew to Philadelphia to apologize to the two 23-year-olds in person and assured them that the manager who called the cops was fired as soon as it was possible.
They both have now settled their legal matters with Starbucks, receiving an undisclosed sum of cash and the payment of a future college tuition.
Brandon Ward was the man who posted the video about the second incident. The 26-year-old caught a white man asking to use the bathroom on film. When the man tells the manager that he didn’t buy anything, the manager allows him to use the bathroom anyways.
Ward walks up and starts inquiring as to why the manager allowed the white man to use the bathroom without buying something, but not Brandon.
“Is it my skin color? Is it my skin color?” he repeatedly asks.
“This is a private business. You are actually not allowed to be in here anymore,” the manager responded. “You need to leave.”
Starbucks is reeling after these two incidents and it will take some time for the public to forget.
“We are working closely with the team to learn from our mistakes,” a Starbucks spokeswoman said. “We are fully investigating our store practices and guidelines across the company. In addition to our own review, we will work with outside experts and community leaders to understand and adopt best practices, including unconscious bias training.”
What do you think of these incidents at the popular Seattle-based coffee chain?