Starbucks Forced to Apologize Over 'Ridiculous' Treatment of Two Black Men


There’s always something inherently enjoyable about watching a liberal individual or entity getting eaten alive by its own constituency.

Take, for instance, when the folks at Facebook were improbably being grilled for throwing the election to Donald Trump by not catching a small group of Russians with a rather modest budget sowing discord during the 2016 election.

Or consider actress Lena Dunham’s rather forceful ejection from the sisterhood of the traveling social media when she decided to defend a white male colleague accused of sexually assaulting an African-American woman.

These are all serious issues, but the point is that each of these assiduously liberal entities ended up getting torn apart by the very people and principles they’ve supported, all invoking at least some level of schadenfreude from conservatives.

And to this list — which is much longer than just the two examples listed above, mind you — one can now add Starbucks.

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Yes, the conspicuously liberal coffee chain famous for its anti-conservative politicking and wading into the culture wars more than once is now in a world of viral hurt after a video emerged online of two black men apparently being arrested in a Starbucks in Philadelphia while they were waiting for a friend.

According to Fox News, the two men were taken into custody Thursday after they asked to use the bathroom and were denied access by the manager. They then refused to leave when he told them to.

The manager proceeded to call 911, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. The manager reported the two men for “trespassing.”

When police showed up, the two men were taken into custody, but not without a video of the incident being taken. The video quickly spread on social media, bringing plenty of invective with it.

Do you think this arrest was warranted?

Ross said the men were asked by police three times to leave before they were arrested but refused. A man who says he was coming there to meet them arrived and backed up their story, but police took them away nonetheless.

The police commissioner, who is black himself, made it clear early on that whatever blame there was lay with the coffee shop.

“As an African-American male, I am very aware of implicit bias; we are committed to fair and unbiased policing,” Ross said.

“If a business calls and they say that ‘someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business,'” Ross said, officers have “a legal obligation to carry out their duties and they did just that.”

Things began getting worse for Starbucks. According to The Washington Post, the individual the two men were there to meet, Andrew Yaffe, is the head of a real estate development firm and was there to meet with the two men about investment opportunities.

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So, thanks to Starbucks, the two men went for a meeting about investments and wound up spending the night in jail. They were eventually released without charges being pressed.

Starbucks had a public relations nightmare on its hands, and it wasn’t long before it was groveling before the public.

“We apologize to the two individuals and our customers and are disappointed this led to an arrest,” the statement read. “We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our stores. We are reviewing our policies and will continue to engage with the community and the police department to ensure these types of situations never happen in any of our stores.”

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson also issued a statement that was critical of the store’s actions.

“Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome — the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong,” Johnson said. “Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.”

So basically, the police are blaming Starbucks, Starbucks is taking some responsibility but saying that when the manager called 911 to get the police involved, he never thought they would be, like, arrested — because clearly that never happens when you call 911 on someone.

Johnson also said he hopes “to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology.” That might be a start, but Johnson’s company will also have to deal with a whole lot of invective heaped on them, especially by their liberal clientele.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture