A former Philadelphia Starbucks supervisor is speaking out against the manager who called the cops on two Black men last week.
Ieshaa Cash worked under store manager Holly Hylton from spring 2017 until last month and said Hylton was “controlling, aggressive, and emotional.” Plus, Cash alleges, she especially had it out for Cash, the only Black employee.
“Holly always looked for things to complain about and was constantly nitpicking about minor things. I could never do anything right to her,” Cash told the Daily Mail Wednesday, April 2. “One time I ordered an extra sleeve of cups and she went off and gave me a written warning even though we would use them anyway.”
The supervisor later got clearance to move to another store but when Hylton met with her she said she was “not comfortable’ with Cash remaining a supervisor” once she moved. Instead, the manager wanted Cash to be demoted to a barista along with a corresponding pay cut.
“‘That’s the way I feel,'” Cash recalled of Hylton’s explanation. “I’ve never been in trouble or disciplined and all the regular customers loved me. I think … because she’s racist, she was trying to push me [to other stores] because she’s uncomfortable with a Black person being there.”
When Cash did move to the new store, she said her hours continued to dwindle until she quit in March.
But in addition to the manager’s alleged issues with Cash, the part-time stand-up comic claims Hylton took issue with non-white customers, much like she seemed to do Thursday, April 12 when her 911 call led to two Black men being arrested for trespassing. The men, one of which has been identified as Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., member Rashon Nelson, were later released.
“Holly was very attentive with all the white customers, always making sure they were happy and served quickly,” Cash said. “But she was cold and standoffish to everyone else and would say, ‘They can wait.’ She often made the baristas serve them so she wouldn’t have to.”
While patrons would regularly arrive at the Starbucks without making a purchase to use the free wifi, Cash said Hylton, who would always call police on Black people.
“She always found a reason to kick Black people out. She was way more likely to ask them to leave over white people who hadn’t made a purchase,” Cash said. “Baristas were usually told to ask them to leave because Holly was so uncomfortable confronting them.”
As a result, the Black patrons would head to other Starbucks locations.
“Holly was always very careful with what she said, but you could see her racism from the way she acted around people of color,” she added.
Hylton, who responded to a Facebook comment in 2014 saying she “took an order the other day in Spanish” and called it “rude” that “we only get Chinese, Japanese, or Arabic speakers here,” claimed loitering was an issue at her Starbucks. Speaking to TechBook Saturday, April 14, she said a corporate policy exclusive to Center City Philadelphia prohibits loitering and that managers have the discretion to call police if it that policy is violated.
On Monday, April 15, Starbucks said Hylton and the coffee chain had parted ways amid a pending internal investigation.
Meanwhile, people have continued to boycott against the Seattle-based company, which announced it will close 8,000 stores in May for racial bias training. Additionally, CEO Kevin Johnson had a private meeting with the two men who were arrested, however, the details have not been disclosed.
All of this comes ahead of another racial incident going viral at a Los Angeles-area Starbucks, where a Black man who didn’t make a purchase was disallowed from using the restroom. However, a white man who had done the same was able to use the facilities.