UPDATE 1-Starbucks CEO says arrests of two black men 'reprehensible'

From Reuters - April 16, 2018

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) Chief Executive Kevin Johnson hopes to meet with the two black men arrested at one of its Philadelphia cafes last week to apologize for the incident, which has sparked accusations of racial profiling at the coffee chain.

The men, who had not made a purchase, were handcuffed and arrested for trespassing on Thursday after a store manager called 911 and reported them for refusing to leave. Witnesses said the men were calmly sitting in the cafe and in a widely viewed video, some patrons asked police whether they were targeted because they are black.

Police released the men, who were not charged.

The circumstances surrounding the incident and the outcome in our store on Thursday were reprehensible ... they were wrong, Johnson told ABCs Good Morning America on Monday, amid protests and calls for a boycott on social media.

The incident came at a time when the company is grappling with flat traffic and lackluster sales growth at its more than 14,000 U.S. cafes. It is a high-profile public relations test for Johnson, a former technology executive who took the helm at Starbucks roughly a year ago.


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