Sunday, April 18, 2021

T.I. and Kevin Hart Have Opposing Views on Starbucks Arrests; CEO Apologies to Men Arrested

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*While rapper T.I. is calling for a boycott of Starbucks following the controversial arrest of two black men in Philly widely disparaged as racist, comic/actor Kevin Hart, a Philadelphia native, says the matter boils down to bad management.

“This is not a boycott Starbucks situation,” he said in a social media post.

Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson appeared on “Good Morning America” Monday morning to repeat his apology and his desire to meet with the two men who arrested.

“I’d like to have a dialogue with them so that I can ensure that we have an opportunity to really understand the situation and show some compassion and empathy for the experience they went through,” he said. “Finally, as we’re working to solve this, I’d like to invite them to join me in finding a constructive way to solve this issue.”

Johnson called what happened reprehensible and said more training is needed to address “unconscious bias.”

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“It’s easy for me to point blame to one person in this incident,” he said in response to host Robin Roberts’ question asking if the employees involved would face discipline. “My responsibility is to look more broadly, just to ensure this never happens again. I’ve been very focused on understanding what guidelines and what training ever let this happen. What happened was wrong, and we will fix it.”

The company has also confirmed that the manager who called the police is no longer working at that store.

Meanwhile, Starbucks will close 8,000 of the company’s U.S.-based locations to train 175,000 employees and address implicit bias, promote inclusion and help prevent discrimination.

According to reports, once the company has completed this training at its company-owned locations, it will make it available to its licensed partners.

Starbucks is working with the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Equal Justice Initiative, among others to create the program, CNBC reports. 

Johnson has reportedly met with the two men and apologized for the way they were treated, according to a company spokesperson who declined to disclose details of the meeting.

 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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