Another Starbucks has come under fire for its treatment of a black customer, days after the coffee chain apologized for the arrest of two black men waiting for a friend at a store in Philadelphia.
Cell phone video taken inside a Starbucks in Southern California resurfaced on Monday, showing cashiers denying a black man access to the restroom.
“Is it because of my skin color?” Brandon Ward asks from the behind his phone camera.
It’s unclear what occurred in the moments leading up to the confrontation, but Ward does indicate he was not given the bathroom code because he had yet to make a purchase.
Ward then turns his attention to a man who appears to be white and identifies himself as Weston — he’s just come out the Torrance store’s bathroom and he admits to the camera that he has not yet bought anything.
“You need to stop recording right now,” a female manager tells him. “This is a private business; I am the store manager. I am asking you to leave right now. You are actually not allowed to be here anymore.”
But Ward continues to press her: “Is it my skin color? I can’t use the bathroom but Weston could. Is it my skin color?”
The 26-year-old told KTLA a security guard escorted him out of the Starbucks, adding that he was met by authorities down the street. The Torrance Police Department confirmed they were called regarding an individual upset about a restroom issue at Starbucks.
“I feel like that’s a place where it could’ve had ‘Whites Only’ on that sign. He didn’t make a purchase,” Ward said, referring to Weston. “But this is your policy, so you should stand by your policy.”
Ward said he recorded the confrontation in January but shared it again to social media in wake of the incident at the Philadelphia Starbucks.
A video shared over the weekend that shows two black men being escorted out of the store in handcuffs has sparked extreme backlash for the mega chain.
Protesters have gathered outside the store in wake of the incident and Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has since issued an apology.
Starbucks said it is working to make institutional changes to address similar problems in the long term, with plans to better educate workers on when police assistance is required and have managers go “unconscious bias learning.”
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