#BoycottStarbucks Trends As Company Refuses To Let Workers Wear #BlackLivesMatter Gear, Starbucks Responds
Although Starbucks, like many other American companies, made a statement in support of Black Lives Matter, the company is reportedly prohibiting their baristas and other employees from wearing apparel, pins, t-shirts, and more that mentions the movement.
Starbucks tweeted on June 4,
“We are committed to taking action learning and supporting our Black partners, customers, and communities. The Starbucks foundation is committing $1 million to organizations promoting racial equity and more inclusive and just communities. Organizations will be nominated by Starbucks partners (employees). We will continue to work to confront bias and racism. We have partnered with Arizona State University to design anti-bias resources and training. We are actively hosting open and necessary conversations with our partners (employees) about racism the black community faces. Our work does not end here.”
But according to an internal flyer, the company reportedly outlined specifically that Black Lives Matter attire was prohibited from the lists of things employees can wear due to its dress code policy, which includes any type of political, religious, or personal accessories or clothing.
However, many Starbucks employees have allegedly said that the company exempts this rule from buttons and attire that celebrates the rights of LGBTQ folks and marriage equality, some employees reportedly saying that the company even hands out apparel that is pro LGBTQ and marriage equality.
The bulletin was sent out because store managers have been contacting the headquarters on behalf of employees that wanted to wear their Black Lives Matter apparel to work as the protests have been gaining traction across the country.
According to the bulletin, Starbucks argued that wearing clothing and accessories in support of Black Lives Matter could be misunderstood and potentially incite violence. The bulletin referred employees to a video, which has been removed, in which the VP of inclusion and diversity explained that,
“agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles of the movement could use them to amplify divisiveness”
Ever since the news about Starbucks prohibiting the Black Lives Matter merchandise came out, “#BoycottStarbucks” has been the trending topic on Twitter. Users showed outraged at the company’s latest dress code and have been calling out the hypocrisy of the statement they made earlier this month in support of the movement for black lives.
One employee even tweeted directly at the company saying,
“I might get fired for this but I’m calling @Starbucks out, how are y’all gonna say we can’t wear any anything BLM bc it’s a personal issue,but have us wear and profit off pride month shirts,cups,gift cards. BLM and Pride were both created to fight injustice, what’s the difference.”
In which Starbucks responded,
“Hello. All U.S. CO partners will be sent a Starbucks partner shirt to lend our collective voice in support of our Black partners, customers and communities. The design will come from the Black Partner Network emphasizing our role and responsibility to not be bystanders.”
She also replied and rebutted their tweet.
Here are some of the reactions to the new dress code.
Two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philly for doing nothing but waiting for a friend.
& now Starbucks is banning employees from wearing anything in support of black lives?
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) June 11, 2020
— Shelby (@shelbs2032) June 11, 2020
— !Megan! (@morethanpilots) June 11, 2020
Starbucks has since responded with the following tweet:
Black Lives Matter. We continue to listen to our partners and communities and their desire to stand for justice together. The Starbucks Black Partner Network co-designed t-shirts with this graphic that will soon be sent to 250,000+ store partners.
What are your thoughts on the backlash against Starbucks and its response? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.