Starbucks Interim CEO Howard Schultz pointed the finger at elected officials in Democrat run areas where his company has been forced to close locations due to skyrocketing crime.
"In my view, at the local, state and federal level, these governments across the country and leaders, mayors and governors and city councils, have abdicated their responsibility in fighting crime and addressing mental illness," Schultz said in leaked video from an internal meeting that was posted by KVI-AM talk radio’s Avi Hoffman over the weekend.
Starbucks announced last week it is shutting down over a dozen U.S locations – six of them in Los Angeles County – by the end of July due to a spike in crime and drug use among customers and nonpaying patrons that have made employees uneasy.
Schultz said in the video that Starbucks will be closing "stores that are not unprofitable" and that he was "shocked" to hear from employees that one of their biggest concerns they voiced in meetings was "their own personal safety" at work.
"And then we heard about the stories that go along with it, about what happens in our bathrooms," Schultz said.
Starbucks, which has been known for opening its bathrooms to everyone, whether they are paying customers or not, is rethinking its policy due to safety concerns.
Starbucks said it is willing to make adjustments to ensure store safety, including modifying operating hours and moving furniture – or removing it – in order to give employees a clearer view of the store. The company said it’s testing alarm systems and sensors to alert employees if someone is in a restroom.
Of the 16 stores that are closing, six are in the Los Angeles area, six are in the Seattle area, two in Portland, and one in both Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
All of those cities are run by Democrat mayors and have all experienced upticks in crime in recent years, including Los Angeles, where violent crimes and homelessness have both been surging.
"We read every incident report you file – it’s a lot," Starbucks Senior Vice Presidents Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson wrote to employees in a letter on Monday. "We want you to know that creating a safe, welcoming and kind third place is our top priority. Because simply put, we cannot serve as partners if we don’t first feel safe at work."
Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf contributed to this report