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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz now says Starbucks stores will open their bathrooms to everyone, regardless if they’ve made a purchase.
Schultz’s comments follow the arrest of two black men at a Starbucks on Rittenhouse Square last month who had asked to use the bathroom without making a purchase but an employee told them it was only for paying customers. When they sat in the store without ordering anything, the manager called police, and the men were arrested for trespassing. No charges were filed.
The attorney for the men, Lauren Wimmer, said they had been waiting at the coffee shop for less than 15 minutes for a third person to arrive for a business meeting over a real estate project. But by the time that person arrived, so did the police.
“The video, in this case, essentially speaks for itself,” said Wimmer. “These guys were doing what people do every day, they were having a meeting and they were undoubtedly singled out because of their race.”
Schultz said the policy and the decision by the Philadelphia store manager last month were “absolutely wrong in every way.” Starbucks has since apologized to the men and announced plans for extra racial bias training for its employees.
Schultz said the company is changing its policy because it wants everyone to feel welcome. He went on to say, however, that Starbucks does not want to become a public restroom.