The arrest of two black men sitting in Starbucks sparked protests in Philadelphia over the weekend — and now the movement to boycott Starbucks is going global.
Last Thursday, a Starbucks manager in Philadelphia called the local police because two black men were sitting inside the cafe without having ordered anything. The incident resulted in the two men being arrested, which drew an apology from Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson and protests outside the branch of Starbucks in question on Sunday. Now there is a call on Twitter to #BoycottStarbucks.
Here’s what you need to know about the ongoing backlash against Starbucks due to last week’s arrests.
Why were 2 men arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia?
The official reason was trespassing because they hadn’t ordered anything. But an eyewitness told NBC News she had been sitting next to a white man who had been in the cafe for 30 minutes without making a purchase, and that a jogger had come into the store earlier to use the bathroom without making a purchase. She said the men had been sitting quietly and playing with their phones. It was later reported that the two men were real estate developers waiting to meet an investor.
Another eyewitness posted a video of the Philadelphia Starbucks incident on Twitter:
Why are people protesting Starbucks?
Some Philadelphians thought Johnson’s apology was “too little, too latte,” as written on one protest sign, and met outside the Starbucks where the arrests took place to protest. Soon, people around the country and around the world were joining the call to #BoycottStarbucks and for the firing of the manager who called the police.
The Mayor’s Office, the Philadelphia Police, and Starbucks are all conducting separate investigations of the incident.
Not everyone is sure about #BoycottStarbucks
Stand-up comic and television host W. Kamau Bell wrote in a long Twitter thread that the apparent discrimination in this case isn’t unique to Starbucks. He recounted an occasion when he was asked to leave a cafe in Berkeley, Calif. where he had stopped to talk to his Caucasian wife and a friend of hers. The incident resulted in two employees being fired, but as he described on Twitter, “Firing the employees doesn’t do anything. It makes the employees scapegoats & let’s (sic) the company off the hook.”
Bell advised his followers to make sure their local cafes “aren’t assholes” before subbing them in for Starbucks.