'This is something that has been going on for years, but everyone is blind to it': Black men arrested after trying to use a Starbucks restroom break their silence

starbucks arrests

Good Morning America

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the two men whose arrest in a Philadelphia Starbucks featured in a viral video.

  • The two black men arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks last week - Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson - broke their silence on Thursday.
  • Nelson and Robinson said they were shocked when police arrived to arrest them minutes after they arrived at Starbucks for a business meeting.
  • "This is something that has been going on for years, but everyone is blind to it," Nelson said in an interview with Good Morning America.

The two black men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week have broken their silence.Advertisement

On Thursday, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson spoke to the media for the first time since the incident in an interview with Good Morning America.

Nelson and Robinson broke down the timeline of the day that they were arrested in a Starbucks location, an incident that went viral after a bystander posted a video online. According to the men, the store manager called 911 mere minutes after they arrived at the store for a business meeting.

"It just didn't hit me what was going on, that it was real, until I'm being double locked with my hands behind my back," Robinson told GMA.
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Footage of the arrest went viral, sparking outrage and prompting other people of color to share similar stories of exclusion at the coffee giant. Starbucks' CEO Kevin Johnson publicly apologized to Robinson and Nelson and has announced plans for the chain to close all locations for an afternoon in May for racial-bias education.

Nelson and Robinson said that they hope that the incident serves as a "stepping stone" to prevent similar situations from happening in the future. "Take this opportunity as a stepping stone to really stand up and show your greatness," Nelson said. "You are not judged by the color of your skin, as your ancestors were."Advertisement

Nelson continued: "This is something that has been going on for years, but everyone is blind to it."

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