PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Joe Trillo is accusing the CEO of Starbucks of pandering to “far-left progressive insanity” after announcing nearly all of the company’s stores will close for one day next month for “racial-bias education” seminars.
The announcement from CEO Kevin Johnson came after a video of two black men being arrested for allegedly trespassing in one of the company’s Philadelphia stores went viral. The charges have since been dropped.
“I am so sick of hearing people scream the word racism every time a minority gets arrested for something unlawful,” Trillo said in a news release issued Friday. “Sorry folks, if you’re asked to leave a business’s premises, you leave. It’s not racism, it’s what happens when you break the law.”
Trillo, a former Republican state representative who is running for governor as an independent, accused Johnson of only being interested in damage control and called on him to “grow a backbone.”
The seminars will be held May 29, closing nearly 8,000 stores across the country.
James Vincent, the president of the Rhode Island branch of the NAACP, said Johnson made a “smart business decision” because “he realized that his manager had acted in a way that was basically biased.”
Vincent called Trillo’s comments “regretful, if not incendiary.”
“I think what he’s doing is playing to a group of people that probably don’t like people of color and embrace what he’s saying,” Vincent said.