Starbucks has angered a large faction of their customers who are angry that they instituted a ban on employees wearing Black Lives Matter clothing or accessories.
The company cited it policy prohibiting political attire or accessories that “advocated a political, religious or personal issue” and said it was necessary “to create a safe and welcoming” environment for customers.
A video from a top company executive reportedly sent with the memo warned employees that “agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles” of the movement could seek to “amplify divisiveness” if the messages are displayed in stores.
“We know your intent is genuine and understand how personal this is for so many of us. This is important and we hear you,” the memo read.
Numerous employees BuzzFeed; however, that the company regularly allows or even encourages employees to wear pins in support of LGBTQ equality, especially during Pride Month every June.
“Starbucks LGBTQ+ partners wear LGBTQ+ pins and shirts, that also could incite and create violent experiences amongst partners and customers,” one black transgender employee of the coffee chain told BuzzFeed. “We have partners who experienced harassment and transphobia/homophobia for wearing their pins and shirts, and Starbucks still stands behind them.”
Some feel betrayed by the reversal after a June 1 tweet, which stated Starbucks will “stand in solidarity with our Black partners, customers and communities.”
A company spokesperson confirmed the memo’s authenticity to BuzzFeed and said that such messages are prohibited “to create a safe and welcoming” environment at Starbucks locations.
“We respect all of our partners’ opinions and beliefs, and encourage them to bring their whole selves to work while adhering to our dress code policy,” the spokesperson said.
BuzzFeed doesn’t identify the numerous people they interviewed, quoting this manager.
“I work in a store where I am one of five people of color out of 30, and it would be nice to be able to show some sort of unity with them,” one manager said. “I personally am having a rough time with this… Starbucks caters to a predominantly Caucasian customer base and… expects us to uphold an amazing customer experience for these demographics, to ensure the money keeps coming in.”
Starbucks doesn’t appear too concerned about the #BoycottStarbucks movement, which emerged as a top-trending Twitter topic on Thursday.
Review some of the tweets as one user planned on buying a cup and writing on it:
If Starbucks is saying #BlackLivesMatter
attire is prohibited, and you end up there, Make “Black Lives Matter” your name so they have to write it on the cup and shout it out loud. “Black Lives Matter! Your frappacino is ready! “BLACK LIVES MATTER! Order up!” #BoycottStarbucks
Nobody is gonna #BoycottStarbucks
Cute “activism” though. (Nicole sips tall Americano)
If Starbucks is saying #BlackLivesMatter attire is prohibited, and you end up there, Make “Black Lives Matter” your name so they have to write it on the cup and shout it out loud.
“Black Lives Matter! Your frappacino is ready!
“BLACK LIVES MATTER! Order up!”#BoycottStarbucks pic.twitter.com/yYEnIOon61
— Steve Marmel (@Marmel) June 11, 2020
Nobody is gonna #BoycottStarbucks
Cute “activism” though.
(Nicole sips tall Americano)
— Nicole Arbour (@NicoleArbour) June 12, 2020