NBC's Megyn Kelly on Tuesday questioned Starbucks' new policy that allows non-customers to sit in the stores and use its restrooms, saying that it could lead to a mass of homeless people occupying cafes.
Kelly shared the criticism as a panel on her show "Megyn Kelly Today" discussed Starbucks' anti-bias training that is taking place Tuesday in more than 8,000 stores across the country.
"There are places for the homeless," Kelly said. "In New York City they’re pretty good about providing churches for homeless to go and get meals and so on. There’s a question about whether a commercial establishment is that place. Do you really want to deal with a mass of homeless people or whoever is in there, they could be drug addicted, you don’t know."
The new Starbucks policy came in response to two African-American men being arrested after sitting in one of its stores in Philadelphia as they waited for a friend. Starbucks employees are now expected to view anyone who walks into its stores as a customer, “regardless of whether they make a purchase."
"One of the key pieces within the policy is the respectful request of customers to behave in a way that maintains a warm and welcoming environment," Starbucks said in a statement.
More than 175,000 employees are taking part in anti-bias training at Starbucks stores on Tuesday.
"Discussing racism and discrimination is not easy, and various people have helped us create a learning experience that we hope will be educational, participatory and make us a better company," CEO Howard Schultz wrote in an open letter. He added that the events that took place in the Philadelphia Starbucks store were reprehensible.
Kelly also called out Starbucks for the rapper Common's participation in the anti-bias training, charging that he has a history of homophobic lyrics and derogatory remarks about women.
"I’m just saying, if we’re going to hold up somebody as an example to teach on bias, maybe we should be sensitive to that person’s entire record," Kelly said.