Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Howard Schultz Says You Can Use Any Starbucks Bathroom — For Free

Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz announced plans to open its restrooms to anyone who wants to use them — whether or not they’re a paying customer, Fox Business reported.

The recent policy change came in response to outrage over the arrest of two African-American men last month after they asked to use the bathroom in a Philadelphia Starbucks. An employee told the men it was only for paying customers, and when they sat down at a table in the store without ordering anything, the manager called police.

“We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision 100% of the time and give people the key, because we don’t want anyone at Starbucks to feel as if we are not giving access to you to the bathroom because you are less than,” Schultz reportedly said on Thursday. “We want you to be more than.”

The two men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, settled with Starbucks earlier this month for an unrevealed amount and an offer of free college tuition. They also reached a deal with the city of Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from city officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs, ABC News reported.

Schultz stepped down as the CEO of Starbucks last April, and was replaced by Kevin Johnson.

Johnson announced that the company will hold racial bias training on May 29 in response to last month’s incident. The company attracted controversy last month when it chose the Anti-Defamation League as one of the groups helping to organize its training program, only to later move the organization to a lesser role.

Contact Haley Cohen at [email protected]


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.