Starbucks to close all U.S. stores to conduct racial-bias education for employees

SEATTLE — Starbucks said Tuesday it will close its more than 8,000 U.S. stores for several hours next month to conduct racial-bias training to its nearly 175,000 workers.

The announcement comes after two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks store, sparking protests and calls for a boycott on social media.

Starbucks said the stores will be closed on the afternoon on May 29. Its corporate offices will also be closed at that time.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson met with the two men who were arrested last week.

A spokeswoman confirmed the meeting happened Monday but declined to give any details. A lawyer for the men did not immediately return messages for comment.

Johnson, who called the arrests “reprehensible,” had said that he wanted to apologize to the men face-to-face.

Video shows several police talking quietly with two black men seated at a table.

After a few minutes, officers handcuff the men and lead them outside as other customers say they weren’t doing anything wrong; Philadelphia-area media reported the two had been waiting for a friend.

Starbucks said the employee who called police on the men no longer works at that location.

The two men were later released because of lack of evidence a crime had be committed.