Starbucks Apologizes After Black Customer Says He Was Asked to Leave While Other Customers Entered and Were Permitted to Stay

Starbucks has released an apology after a customer was claims he was asked to leave by a manager over COVID-19 restrictions while other customers were able to stay inside.

Bryce Ward told KGO-TV ABC7 he was called out by the manager of the San Jose coffee shop because he’s Black.  “Come straight up to me points to the door and says I need you outside. And at that moment, man, it’s embarrassing. It’s irritating. Humiliating. Why me?” Ward asked. Starbucks has apologized to Ward after he was asked to wait outside while his order was being made. Ward says the manager told him the store was at capacity according to Santa Clara County’s COVID restrictions therefore, he had to leave. He says other customers were allowed into the store and which has caused him to think he was targeted because he’s Black. “I was the only Black (person) in there. I don’t know what was going through her mind,” Ward said.

Santa Clara County is currently in the red tier for reopening, meaning retail stores are limited to a maximum of 50% capacity according to ABC 7. County health officials announced eariler this week the county will will soon move to the orange tier for reopening, allowing for greater capacity at businesses. “You see all this traffic coming in and out and you didn’t say anything to anybody else? Why are you singling me out?,” he said. Soon after the incident, the San Francisco barber took went on Instagram to share his experience. Starbucks sent the following statement to the news station.

“We have no tolerance for discrimination of any kind in our stores and we never want a customer to feel discriminated against. We apologize to Mr. Ward for his experience and have retrained staff on how to respectfully navigate capacity limits to protect the health and safety of partners and customers.”

A Starbucks spokesperson told ABC7 News the “company does not have video available of the incident” despite having security cameras at the store. Adante Pointer Oakland-based civil rights attorney, “How convenient that the very key piece of evidence that would corroborate what took place here, and would probably turn into a viral video once it was released, no one can seem to find it.”

“We need to be hearing from the people at the top because the top sets the tone for the rest of the organization,” said Pointer. Additional training has already happened at the location in question, a Starbucks spokesperson also confirmed.

“I just want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anybody else,” Ward said.

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