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"Racist" Starbucks To Close All Locations On May 29

Starbucks (SBUX) Tuesday said it will close all of its more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the US on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct a racial-bias education for its employees.

The training will be provided to nearly 175,000 employees across the country, and will become part of the onboarding process for new employees, the company 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," said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.

"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."

Employees, or partners as the company calls them, will go through a training program "designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome."

Last week, Starbucks came under scathing criticism after two black men were arrested from a Philadelphia Starbucks outlet on April 12. The arrests sparked accusations of racial profiling by the coffee chain.

The two men were waiting at the store for a friend to show up. However, a store manager asked the men, who had not made any purchases, to leave the store after they attempted to use the restroom despite being told it was only for paying customers.

The store manager later called 911 to report trespassing and the men were arrested by the Philadelphia police.

The video of the incident, taken by an onlooker and widely shared online, has gone viral and fueled a backlash against the company. The video also shows other customers telling the police officers that the two men had done nothing wrong and appeared to be targeted merely for their race.

Starbucks CEO Keving Johnson apologized to the two men for their arrest and also said that their arrest was a "reprehensible outcome."

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