PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Starbucks founder Howard Schultz says he’s “embarrassed” following the controversial arrests of two black men inside the Philadelphia coffee shop last week.
The company’s executive chairman made the comments to “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday.READ MORE: WATCH: New Castle County Police, Neighbor Rescue Elderly Woman Trapped Under SUV
“I’m embarrassed, ashamed. I think what occurred was reprehensible at every single level. I think I take it very personally as everyone in our company does and we’re committed to making it right,” said Schultz.
On Tuesday, Starbucks announced that they will be closing thousands of its stores across the United States on May 29 for racial bias training.
“The announcement we made yesterday about closing our stores, 8,000 stores closed, to do significant training with our people is just the beginning of what we will do to transform the way we do business and educate our people on unconscious bias,” explained Schultz.
He continued, “It will cost millions of dollars, but I’ve always viewed this and things like this as not an expense, but an investment in our people and our company. And we’re better than this.”READ MORE: Joel Embiid Scores 40 But Sixers Blow 24-Point Lead In Loss To Clippers
The video that has sparked protests shows the men being taken away from the Starbucks on 18th and Spruce Streets in handcuffs Thursday after a manager called police because the two had not made a purchase. Instead, the men told the manager they were waiting for a third person to arrive for a business meeting.
Schultz told “CBS This Morning” that the store manager who called police has left the company, but that she is “interested” in sitting down with the two men who were arrested.
“Perhaps something good can come out of this and by that I mean, this has highlighted for us that we have more work to do as a company and I think, you know, race is a very difficult subject to discuss,” he said.
Schultz stated that police would not have been called if the men were white, and that it’s possible that what happened is not an “isolated” incident.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the reason that they were called was because they were African-American,” he told “CBS This Morning.” “That’s not who Starbucks is.”MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Postponing COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate For City Workers Again
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson met with the men who were arrested, and also had a meeting with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Richard Ross this week.