News

White Starbucks Manager Fired After Infamous Philly Incident Wins $26 Million in Lawsuit

Plus, Herr's releases more "Philly"-flavored potato chips.


A Starbucks regional manager said she was fired for being white after the infamous arrest of two Black men at this Philadelphia Starbucks

A Starbucks regional manager said she was fired for being white after the infamous arrest of two Black men at this Philadelphia Starbucks in 2018, and she just won her lawsuit against Starbucks over it. (Getty Images)

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White Starbucks Manager Fired After Infamous Philly Incident Wins $26 Million in Lawsuit

Thursday, April 12, 2018. It was the Philadelphia Starbucks incident heard around the world.

Two Black men went to a Rittenhouse Square Starbucks for a meeting. One asked a worker if he could use the bathroom. The worker said no and soon asked the men to leave. They didn’t. And police arrested the two men.

Video of the incident went viral, and allegations of racism ensued, followed by protests, followed by an apology from the CEO of Starbucks, followed by the termination of Shannon Phillips, the white regional manager who oversaw the Starbucks in question. Well, five years later, Phillips has had her day in court. And the jury sided with her and against Starbucks to the tune of $25.6 million.

Phillips, a New Jersey resident, filed a federal lawsuit there against Starbucks shortly after the company terminated her amid continuing fallout from the Philadelphia arrests. According to her lawsuit, the only reason Starbucks gave her for the termination was that “the situation was unrecoverable.” But Phillips argued in her suit that Starbucks fired her for one reason and one reason only: She’s white. Phillips also claimed that as part of a public relations campaign, Starbucks sought to punish white employees, even those who did nothing wrong and had nothing to do with the Rittenhouse Square store.

The case wound its way through COVID delay after COVID delay, only going to trial in recent days. On Monday, the jury finally got the case and after four and a half hours of deliberation came back with a unanimous verdict. The New Jersey jury found that Starbucks had violated Phillips’s civil and state rights, awarding her $25 million in punitive damages and another $600,000 in compensatory damages.

Starbucks hasn’t commented on the case.

As for the two men in the video, they settled with the City of Philadelphia for $1 each, with the understanding that the city would put $200,000 into a program for young people.

Feds: Arrested Main Line Teacher Jeremy Schobel’s Targets Included His Students

Last week, when I learned that the feds had charged Harriton High School English teacher Jeremy Schobel with posing as an underage girl online in order to get actual underage girls to send him explicit photos and videos, I immediately wondered if these were random girls he found on the internet or if they were students at Harriton High. In a statement, the Lower Merion School District, which includes Harriton, said that the district was “not aware of any inappropriate interactions” between Schobel and students. But yesterday, some new allegations came to light.

In a motion for pre-trial detention filed in court on Tuesday by Jacqueline Romero, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, investigators now allege that some Harriton students were among his “hundreds” of victims.

Schobel remains in prison and faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

And the Made in America Headliners Are …

SZA and Lizzo. If you’re keeping tabs, the annual festival takes over the Ben Franklin Parkway on September 2nd and 3rd.

By the Numbers

5: Philadelphia Zoo meerkats that just died after exposure to a toxin.

1,500: Approximate submissions to Herr’s latest contest to design new “Philly flavors” of potato chips. Alas, cannoli didn’t win. The three nominations chosen by Herr’s: Roast Pork, inspired by John’s Roast Pork; Tomato Pie, inspired by Corropolese; and Korean BBQ Wings, inspired by Mike’s BBQ in South Philly.

$3 million: Emergency federal funding just approved to aid in the I-95 collapse.

11: City pools set to be open by the end of this week. Go here for the full schedule.

$15: Minimum wage in Pennsylvania by 2026 — if state Democrats have their way.

And from the Woo-Hoo! Sports Desk …

The Phils were in Arizona last night, behind 1-0 in their four-game series vs. the first-in-the-NL-West Diamondbacks after Monday’s tough 9-8 loss. Zack Wheeler, who’s been pitching well of late, was on the mound for  the Phillies; for the D-backs, it was another Zack — Davies, who got walloped by leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber for … a solo homer, natch.

It had to be demoralizing, and it was: The next batter, Trea Turner, walked on four pitches and then stole second. Nick Castellanos stung a double over the first-base bag, and Turner came home. The Phils scored two more before Kody Clemens was called out on a dubious strike to end Davies’s misery. Nice start: 4-0 Phils.

AZ had a lead-off single in the second, but Wheeler’s pitching was wicked. In the top of the third, the Phils pulled off a double steal with Harper and J.T. on first and second, and a Bohm single up the middle scored Bryce. On a literal heads-up play, J.T. scored when Corbin Carroll — oh, dear:

Well, he’s young yet; he won’t do that again. That made it 6-0 Phils. And to start off the fifth? A Bryson Stott singleton homer. It was getting hard to count so high.

The D’backs managed to get themselves one in the sixth, which was good for them, because they’re one of two MLB teams that haven’t been shut out this season. J.T. led off the seventh with his second triple in two games, and Stott singled to bring him home: 8-1. Luis Ortiz, just recalled to the team, came in to pitch for the Phils in the bottom of the inning and got into some trouble, giving up a run on a triple and a double to make it 8-2, but Marsh pulled his ass out of the fire with a great running catch.

In the eighth, Schwarber singled, Turner got an infield hit, and Big Nick brought them both home with a double. Take that, Diamondbacks! J.T. then doubled into nearly exactly the same spot to tack another one on: 11-2. Poor Carroll hit an in-vain solo homer in the bottom of the eighth, and Arizona tacked on still one more, but such a steep hill to climb … The D-backs clearly knew it, since they sent second baseman Josh Rojas in to pitch the ninth. Some runs were scored. Final: 15-3. Series even!

All Philly Today Sports Desk coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.