Starbucks is in hot water once again after a barista at a location in Tempe, Arizona, asked six police officers who had ordered drinks to leave or get out of sight because they were making customers “feel uncomfortable.”
Unsurprisingly, the incident did not go over well with the local police department, which issued a statement that characterized the situation as “disheartening” and “offensive,” but “all too common in 2019.”
Starbucks executive VP Rossann Williams issued a statement of her own, saying, “[The officers] should have been welcomed and treated with dignity and the utmost respect by our partners (employees). Instead, they were made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, which is completely unacceptable.” Accordingly, the company will take “the necessary steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future.”
If Williams sounds like a broken record, it’s because Starbucks is no stranger to these kinds of controversies. Last spring, the chain weathered a massive PR storm after two black men at a Starbucks in Philadelphia were unjustly arrested for trespassing after being denied access to the bathroom. As a result, the company closed all 8,000 locations for a day of racial-bias training sessions and lifted its unofficial “customers only” bathroom policy.