Black folks rejected Starbucks’ apology over the racist arrest of two Black men Thursday at a Philadelphia store and continued their call for a boycott of the coffee chain.
Mobile phone video showing at least six Philadelphia police officers arresting two seated Black men has gone viral. They were reportedly waiting for a man, identified as Andrew Yaffe, to discuss a business deal. A Starbucks employee called the officers because the two Black men were doing what scores of people do at Starbucks—using the coffee shop as a meeting place without making a purchase. Yaffee arrived as the officers put the men, who were not being disruptive or confrontational, in handcuffs for trespassing.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized to the men on Saturday, calling the arrest “a disheartening situation in one of our Philadelphia-area stores this past Thursday, that led to a reprehensible outcome.”
But for many, that apology came up short:
Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney also dismissed Starbucks’ apology, underscoring that calling the police in that situation “appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.”
Kenney hit the nail on the head with this statement: “For many, Starbucks is not just a place to buy a cup of coffee, but a place to meet up with friends or family members, or to get some work done. Like all retail establishments in our city, Starbucks should be a place where everyone is treated the same, no matter the color of their skin.”
Indeed, even Starbucks acknowledged that people use its coffee shops as a “community hub,” according to the Washington Post. It has become a place where people drop in for the free WiFi or to meet friends without ordering anything.
That, however, apparently doesn’t apply to Black people: