Starbucks African-American COO says “watching that video was quite painful”

Rosalind Brewer says watching the video was painful.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: Protestors demonstrate inside a Center City Starbucks on April 15, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Police arrested two black men who were waiting inside the Center City Starbucks which prompted an apology from the company's CEO. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

African American COO Rosalind Brewer is the latest Starbucks executive to step in for damage control in the wake of viral videos circulating online showing police officers arresting two Black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks for no apparent reason. A manager reportedly called the police as the two men sat peacefully waiting for another gentleman to arrive for a business meeting.

Rosalind Brewer had a talk with NPR’s Rachel Martin about the incident that has sparked protests of that location and social media calls for a boycott of Starbucks in general. Here are some excerpts from the brief interview:

Watching as a Black Executive and a Mom
“Just watching that video was quite painful. As an African American executive myself with a 23-year-old African American son, it was very difficult to watch. The police should not have been called in this situation and this was a teachable moment for all of us. We take full responsibility to make sure that our company remains great. Good companies acknowledge their mistakes and then make the necessary changes to become a better company.”

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Necessary Changes
“One of the things we’re looking at is this is a time for us to look at policies, to look at our training and development, to look at our store managers and give them the required skills that they need. We’re doing all of that. How can we do better? How can we be better? And to make sure we’ve got the right policies and practices around our stores.

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Taking Responsibility
“It would be easy for us to say that this was a one-employee situation. But I have to tell you, it’s time for us, myself included to just take personal responsibility here and do the best we can to make sure that we do everything that we can. For instance, unconscious bias training is critical and top of our list. One of things we want to make sure happens in this situation. We’ll have to move forward from this and learn from it.”

Check out her interview with WURD: