Starbucks to shut more than 8,000 cafes for race training

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Media caption‘Hey Starbucks, is it my skin colour?’, asks Brandon Ward

Coffee chain Starbucks is to close more than 8,000 company-owned branches in the US for an afternoon next month to carry out “racial-bias” training.

The aim is to prevent discrimination in Starbucks stores.

The move comes after the firm had to to apologise over last week’s arrest of two black men who were waiting for a friend in a Starbucks in Philadelphia.

Starbucks’ boss said he had been “learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it”.

Chief executive Kevin Johnson said he had spent the last few days in Philadelphia.

“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,” he said.

All Starbucks company-owned branches are corporate offices will be closed in the afternoon of Tuesday, 29 May. Nearly 175,000 staff will receive the training, as will all future recruits.

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Media captionStarbucks staff to get ‘unconscious bias’ training

The training will “address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome”, the company said in a statement.

Following the incident in Philadelphia, amateur video showed police placing the two men, who were accused by shop staff of trespassing, in handcuffs.

The footage was widely shared after it was posted on Twitter and led to accusations of racial profiling.

Starbucks chief executive Kevin Johnson said the video was “hard to watch” and that the actions taken were “wrong”.

In an interview on Monday, Mr Johnson said the Philadelphia branch manager who called police on the two men last week has now left the company.

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