Less than one week after a Starbucks manager in Philadelphia got two black men arrested for hanging out in her store, a black man at a Los Angeles location claims he was denied entry to the bathroom even though a white man had just been given the entry code. Neither were paying customers.
Brandon Ward recorded the exchange on his phone back in January, but says the Philadelphia incident prompted him to resurrect it. “Once the thing happened this past weekend in Philadelphia, that’s when I was like, ‘Hey, the same thing happened to me,’” he said.
In the video, which was tweeted by activist Shaun King, a white customer named Westin tells Ward he had just been given the code to the bathroom before purchasing anything.
“You asked for the code and they just gave it to you, right?” Ward asks.
“Yeah,” responds Westin.
“Before you made a purchase?”
Ward then politely approached the counter, asking why Westin had been given the code while he’d been refused it. He mentioned that skin color may be a factor, at which point the woman behind the counter–who’d identified herself as the manager- told him repeatedly to stop filming and asked him to leave.
“This is a private business,” says the Starbucks manager.
“This is not your business though,” says Ward.
“I am the store manager.”
“Okay, you may be the store manager –”
“And I’m asking you to leave right now. You’re actually not allowed to be in here anymore. You need to leave,” says the woman behind the counter.
Here we go again.
Meet Brandon Ward. He was @Starbucks – about to make a purchase – and needed to use the restroom.
They denied him the code.
He then finds a white man, Weston, who came out of the restroom.
He had not made a purchase but they gave HIM the code.
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 16, 2018
“There should have been a sign right there that says whites only, because that’s how they treated it,” Ward said.
King’s tweet of the video elicited many a heated reply. People pointed out the unprofessional manner in which the manager handled the situation.
And how Ward was approached as though he was acting violently (he was not.)
Many continued to call for the boycott of Starbucks, especially in light of the Philadelphia arrests.
While others brought up the fact that the issue is far deeper and more engrained than a few Starbucks stores.
Though Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has met with the two men in Philadelphia, he has yet to address the LA store catastrophe.