Starbucks is under fire after many said two black men were “unnecessarily” arrested at a Philadelphia location, sparking #BoycottStarbucks on Twitter.
A video, which surfaced online Thursday, shows police talking to two black men before handcuffing them and escorting them out of the building.
In the clip, which has been viewed more than 3 million times, a patron can be heard saying, “They didn’t do anything” after another asks, “What did they [the police] get called for, because there were two black guys sitting here meeting me?”
In a tweet, Melissa DePino, who recorded the moment, said, “The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing.”
Amid outrage, Starbucks issued a statement online, writing, “We apologize to the two individuals and our customers and are disappointed this led to an arrest.”
During a Facebook Live statement uploaded Saturday afternoon, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross described the incident. He said the men were “trespassing,” because they were non-paying customers who wanted to use the bathroom. When Starbucks employees asked the men to leave, they refused and the police were called. He said the officers “did absolutely nothing wrong.”
However, several on social media disagreed and #BoycottStarbucks soon became a trending topic on Twitter Saturday. Many called the arrest racist and discriminatory.
Other the other hand, a few said the coffee chain should not be blamed for a few people’s actions. They thought the hashtag was “unnecessary.”