Starbucks is facing fresh controversy after a black man was allegedly refused entry to a toilet – as the firm revealed it will close thousands of its shops to conduct "racial-bias education".

The coffee chain said it will shut more than 8,000 stores in the US on the afternoon of 29 May to carry out training "geared towards preventing discrimination".

It comes after the firm apologised to two black men who were arrested while waiting for someone in a Starbucks outlet in Philadelphia.

A video has now emerged of a separate incident in which a black man says he was denied entry to a Starbucks toilet in Los Angeles, while a white man who had also not bought anything was given the bathroom code.

Here we go again.

Meet Brandon Ward. He was @Starbucks – about to make a purchase – and needed to use the restroom.

They denied him the code.

He then finds a white man, Weston, who came out of the restroom.

He had not made a purchase but they gave HIM the code.


— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 16, 2018

The video, which was posted online by civil rights activist Shaun King, shows Brandon Ward confronting the store manager about the decision.

"Is it my skin colour?" he asks. "I think it may be my skin colour."

Starbucks told Sky News it is taking the video "very seriously" and "working closely with the team to learn from our mistakes".

Nearly 175,000 Starbucks employees will now undergo training to address "implicit bias", "prevent discrimination" and ensure all its customers feel "safe and welcome", the company said.

The firm's chief executive Kevin Johnson has previously said he is hoping to "offer a face-to-face apology" to the two black men arrested in Philadelphia.

@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadnt 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 its never happened to us when we do the same thing.

— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018

Footage showed officers taking the men away in handcuffs, as onlookers insisted the pair had done nothing wrong.

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney said he was "heartbroken" about the incident which "appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018".

Philadelphia Police Department, which defended its officers' actions, has since released audio of calls it received related to the incident.

Starbucks later issued an apology to the two arrested men, who were released without charge.

Mr Johnson said: "I've spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it.

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"While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution.

"Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities."

Original Article

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Sky News

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