Last Updated on February 17, 2022
Starbucks has drawn the wrath of social media and several activists after announcing that they would not be permitting their staff to wear anything outwardly supporting Black Lives Matter.
An internal memo was reportedly sent to employees requesting them to refrain from wearing apparel which may confer support to the global activist group.
The move comes after Starbucks has openly allowed staff members to wear badges, lapels, and other widgets supporting LGBT rights during Pride month.
A black transgender employee approached Buzzfeed News with the cascaded memo, saying: “Starbucks LGBTQ+ partners wear LGBTQ+ pins and shirts, that also could incite and create violent experiences amongst partners and customers.”
The employee went onto say: “We have partners who experienced harassment and transphobia/homophobia for wearing their pins and shirts, and Starbucks still stands behind them.”
The path forward requires open and honest conversations about racial injustices. On Saturday, Starbucks partners came together in an open forum to listen and support one another.
It’s going to take each of us to drive necessary change. https://t.co/ZUlBV9MgFF
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 2, 2020
The internal memo suggested that the items supporting Black Lives Matter could “amplify divisiveness” as agitators could use the symbols to cause a stir.
A Starbucks spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the memo, stating: “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.”
Black lives matter. We are committed to being a part of change.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 4, 2020
The decision to place a ban on these items supporting Black Lives Matter rustled up controversy–despite the brand throwing support behind the movement.
Following the revelation that Starbucks would adhere to their internal policy, several angered social media users began trending the notion to boycott Starbucks over the memo.
Another tweeter wrote: “After first voicing support, Starbucks won’t let employees wear #BlackLivesMatter gear. As one barista says, “It is silencing and Starbucks is complicit. Now more than ever, Starbucks needs to stand with us.”‘
WTF? After first voicing support, Starbucks won’t let employees wear #BlackLivesMatter gear. As one barista says, “It is silencing and Starbucks is complicit. Now more than ever, Starbucks needs to stand with us." #BoycottStarbucks https://t.co/lDNph8N22d
— Amanda Filipacchi (@AFilipacchi) June 11, 2020
— Fat. Ugly. Truth. (@Kiera_is_Kie) June 11, 2020
Other tweeters recalled the Philadelphia incident where two black patrons were kicked out of a shop, grabbing international headlines.