*Starbucks finds itself in deep doo-doo (in the court of public opinion) and is bracing for a swift fallout from social media which could also cause a steep drop in its stock price. It’s all because of what went down at one of its stores in Philadelphia where two black men were arrested and treated like utter criminals all because they had the audacity sit and wait for a friend to arrive for a meeting.
Oops, we think somebody done effed up. BIG.
The story is that the two black men (real estate brokers, by the way) were sitting in Starbucks, minding their own business, when all of a sudden they found themselves handcuffed and taken to the police station. Even the white customers who witnessed them being handcuffed and marched out of the store for no reason – other than being guilty of “waiting while black” – were confused, pissed off, and even questioned the cops who arrested them.
Fortunately, a white customer named Melissa DePino, caught the whole thing on her phone and after she posted the video, it went viral.
Oops again, Starbucks.
Here’s what DePino posted on Twitter along with her video:
“@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. 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.”
Watch the video below.
@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. 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. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci
— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018
Later, Melissa gave updates about the situation, the responses from other White people, and the men’s ultimate release from jail, in the series of tweets below:
“Ever since I posted this, I’ve had white strangers AND friends say “there must be something more to this story. That assumption is a big part of the problem. It does happen. All the time. Just not to you and me. Believe it and speak up.”
“Thanks to @LAWimmerESQ, the Philly DA’s Office declined to arraign, and both men were released from the 9th at approximately 2am.”
After the Starbucks arrest video went viral on Friday, people of all races have been going in on Starbucks. We’re talking celebs and civilians alike.
Actor, Jeffrey Wright, pointed out how Black men in America are forced to have the unrealistic ability to suppress standing up for themselves in order to save their lives, when they’re wrongly arrested/accused by law enforcement:
These American men knew what was necessary to preserve their health. Obey. Comply. It’s ENRAGING that that’s the reality. I hope they sue the hell out of Starbucks and the city of Philadelphia. https://t.co/c3WENcRkQ6
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) April 14, 2018
Soledad O’Brien, wrote:
— Soledad O’Brien (@soledadobrien) April 14, 2018
BET writer/comedian, Robin Thede:
Starbucks is literally the place where everyone goes to meet a friend. No one ever orders anything. Everyone knows this. Wtf?! Also says something about the resiliency of racism when even white people are screaming “they didn’t do anything!!” and it falls on deaf ears. https://t.co/JvpTWuda9O
— Robin Thede (@robinthede) April 14, 2018
Lauren A. Wimmer, the attorney who reportedly helped with the men’s release from jail wrote:
The video speaks for itself. What took place at the 18th and Spruce #Philly @Starbucks was reprehensible. Two young black men, who were simply waiting to be joined by a friend, were blatantly discriminated against based on their race. Not only is this inexcusable, it’s illegal.
— Lauren A. Wimmer (@LAWimmerESQ) April 14, 2018
Activist Shaun King proffered this:
We know what happened. It was a gross double standard rooted in racism. What we need is an apology followed by restitution. We need you to proactively make this right by the two young men you violated. https://t.co/enIbgtzGrK
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 14, 2018
No-famous folks offered their thoughts, too:
it’s weird to see people responding to that starbucks video with “well if they didn’t buy anything that’s trespassing” ….. especially since i’ve literally seen people set up entire work from “home” offices in starbucks without so much as getting a water cup. fuck off.
— Auntie Can (@spinnellii) April 14, 2018
Shout out to the guy in the grey vest for standing up for these men. Sadly, had he been black, he would have no doubt been arrested, too, for creating a public disturbance, interfering with an arrest, some other nonsense.
— WTAF (@NotMyPrezEver1) April 14, 2018
.@Starbucks, whoever called the police in this instance needs to be fired. Same for any manager who failed to intervene. I am a very regular (and vocal!) customer, but if you don’t take robust action to address this racist incident I will have to drop my Starbucks habit. https://t.co/kmIlKysuvu
— Christopher Stroop (@C_Stroop) April 14, 2018
If you’re wondering what Starbucks has to say about the situation, well, now that the video has gone viral and has become a trending topic (#BoycottStarbucks) on Twitter, the company has finally decided to issue a formal, generic, weak-ass apology:
We apologize to the two individuals and our customers for what took place at our Philadelphia store on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/suUsytXHks
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) April 14, 2018
What you may not know ids that before #BoycottStarbucks becoming a trending topic, Starbucks had only tweeted a lackluster reply to the customer who first posted the video:
We’re reviewing the incident with our partners, law enforcement and customers to determine what took place and led to this unfortunate result.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) April 14, 2018