Update: 9:15 PM EST (June 12, 2020) — Starbucks reversed the policy banning employees from wearing BLM-related attire, and unveiled plans to release a line of t-shirts from The Starbucks Black Party Network.
The shirts will be distributed to more than 250,000 stores, but until then, Starbucks employees are encouraged to wear their own shirts and pins to show their BLM support.
“Wear your BLM pin or t-shirt. We are so proud of your passionate support of our common humanity,” reads a post on the company’s blog on Friday (June 12). “We trust you to do what’s right while never forgetting Starbucks is a welcoming third place where all are treated with dignity and respect.”
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. pic.twitter.com/Wexb45RcTE
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 12, 2020
Original story below…
Starbucks made a very public statement in support of Black Lives Matter movement, but it seems that the company has different view behind the scenes. The coffee giant has banned employees from wearing t-shirts or pins promoting BLM, as it may be misconstrued and could potentially incite violence, Buzzfeed News reports.
The outlet obtained an internal memo sent out in response to store managers who contacted higher-ups on behalf of employees who wanted to include BLM-related items on their uniforms. The memo reiterates the company’s “carefully considered and defined” dress code policy that states that employees are only allowed to wear company-issued buttons and pins. Buttons supporting LBTQ rights are exempt from the restriction.
Starbucks posted a lengthy message of support for BLM earlier in the week.
Black lives matter. We are committed to being a part of change.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 4, 2020
As for employees promoting BLM, the memo directed them to a since deleted video explaining how “there are agitators who misconstruct the fundamental principles of the Black Lives Matter movement — and in certain circumstances, intentionally repurpose them to amplify divisiveness.”
Starbucks directed employees can show support by ordering a “Keep It Brewing” t-shirt from the company’s Black Partner Network.
A rep for Starbucks told Buzzfeed News that while the company remains committed to helping to dismantle “systematic racism,” the dress code policy remains in place.
Starbucks has been here before. In 2018, the coffee giant faced boycotts after an employee called police on two black men who were waiting for a friend. In reaction to the incident, Starbucks vowed to implement anti-racial bias training.
Read some of the latest #BoycottStarbucks tweets below.
— Yolian Ogbu (@yolian_ogbu) June 11, 2020
— Ameerah (@the_mod_woman) June 11, 2020
If YOU own shares of Starbucks, you better sell that shit…
Your coffee beans are from Central America yet you can’t support Black Lives Matter🤔🤔🤔
— Gvitz ⚡ (@gorovitz23) June 11, 2020
I haven’t been back to @Starbucks since those 2 Black guys got hassled a few years ago.
Now they want to deny employees the right to express their support for Black Lives Matter? SMDH.
That’s a latte bullshit.#BoycottStarbucks
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) June 12, 2020