Seattle-based Starbucks is moving on from the viral video capturing two African American men arrested in April by police in an incident alleging racial profiling. The coffee giant announced that it has reached a deal including a financial settlement with Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, the two men arrested in the video. As a part of the deal with an undisclosed financial amount, the two men will continue to work with Starbucks to continue dialogue and develop opportunities to avoid any future incidents involving racial profiling at the coffee chain.
“I want to thank Donte and Rashon for their willingness to reconcile. I welcome the opportunity to begin a relationship with them to share learning and experiences. And Starbucks will continue to take actions that stem from this incident to repair and reaffirm our values and vision for the kind of company we want to be.” Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO said in a statement.
Robinson and Nelson will also have an opportunity to continue the conversation with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as a part of the Starbucks agreement and the company’s long-term commitment to diversity efforts. The two men also reached a settlement deal with the City of Philadelphia over their arrest. According to The Washington Post, Robinson and Nelson settled with the city for $1 each and a $200,000 grant to fund a program to help high school students in under-served communities become entrepreneurs.
“We appreciate the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with Kevin Johnson and the group around the table to address hard issues. We all recognize the importance of communication about differences and solutions, and that we will be measured by our action not words,” Robinson and Nelson said in a joint statement.
Starbucks previously announced that it’s closing more than 8,000 of its United States stores on May 29 for a special racial bias diversity training for employees. The afternoon closure will focus on implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, discrimination prevention and designed to ensure employees help customers inside Starbucks stores feel safe and welcome.
Johnson issued an apology at the time of the incident which involved a white manager calling 911 to have Robinson and Nelson arrested for not making a purchase while waiting for a business friend. He promised to investigate and the company would do better in terms of diversity and racial profiling.
“What happened to those two gentleman was wrong,” Johnson said during an interview with Good Morning America. “Starbucks was a company that was built with a warm welcoming environment for all customers.”
Johnson visited the location in the days following the incident. he store manager that called 911 to request police, is no longer working at the Philadelphia store.
Since the incident Starbucks stock has taken a slight decline from $59.43 per share near the time of the incident on April 12 to $56.13 per share on May 3. During Starbucks second fiscal quarter of 2018 ending April 1, the company saw consolidated net revenue of $6 billion. The revenue is a 14 percent increase from the same period in 2017. Starbucks reward members spending increased 39 percent, the coffee giant reported in its quarterly earnings statement.
Starbucks, founded in 1971, operates 25,000 stores worldwide including an estimated 212 stores in Manhattan. During an interview with CBS, Starbucks founder and Executive Chairman Howard Schultz said he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” about the controversial arrest of the two men.
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