UPDATE, 5/18/18: Starbucks issued an apology for the incident. “This is not indicative of the type of experience we want our customers to have when they walk into our stores. We have apologized to the customer directly and are working to make things right,” they said in a statement, CBS2 Los Angeles reports.
In the past month, Starbucks has been at the center of controversy after two black men were wrongfully arrested at a Philadelphia store. The coffee chain has issued public apologies for the incident and even changed its bathroom policy as a result of the arrest. But now Starbucks is once again facing backlash after an employee at a Los Angeles-area store reportedly wrote a racial slur on a customer’s cup.
CBS Los Angeles reported last night, May 16th, that a Latino man named Pedro visited a Starbucks in La Cañada, California and was shocked to see the word “beaner” written on his order.
“It’s something racist used to offend Latinos,” Pedro said about the slur in an interview with Telemundo.
According to the Los Angeles Times, he was offered a $50 Starbucks gift card as compensation, which he reportedly called an insult.
In a statement to NBC4 Los Angeles, Starbucks said it was working to correct the situation.
“This is not the experience that we want for our clients,” the coffee chain wrote. “We asked for his forgiveness and we are working to correct this. Also, we are investigating the incident to ensure this will not be repeated.”
On May 15th, Twitter user Priscilla Hernandez shared a photo of the coffee cup, writing that she worked with Pedro. She wrote that when she called the La Cañada store to complain, “their excuse was they couldn’t understand him.”
The Starbucks Help account responded to Hernandez’s tweet, saying “this is not the welcome experience we aim to provide,” and adding that the company had reached out to Pedro to apologize.
This latest incident of racial discrimination comes less than two weeks before May 29th, when 8,000 Starbucks stores are scheduled to hold racial sensitivity training.
We’re appalled to see yet another instance of racial discrimination. There’s absolutely no excuse for what this employee did, and our hearts go out to Pedro. We need to be better.