Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders

Starbucks Won’t Allow Employees to Wear Anything Supporting Black Lives Matter

But they WILL still sell you a Wynton Marsalis jazz CD for $29.
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As the Black Lives Matter protests continue, corporations are rushing to jump on the bandwagon and tell us about how woke they are. Every day it seems like I get 45 emails from every company I’ve ever purchased something from alerting me that they believe Black people shouldn’t be murdered in the street without repercussions.

What a relief it is to know that Old Navy AND Yogurtland are standing up against prejudice and oppression! They are truly one of us. But while these corporations are quick to champion social justice in words, they are often less apt to do so with action. Which brings us to Starbucks. The ubiquitous coffee chain has posted messages of support across their social media channels.

However, an internal memo went out to Starbucks employees telling them not to wear any clothing or accessories that support Black Lives Matter. The company claims that the rule is part of their established dress code policy, which also includes “any type of political, religious, or personal accessories or clothing.”

It would be one thing if Starbucks had zero history of supporting any political or social movements, but they are known for giving out buttons and clothing in support of LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality during Pride month. According to Buzzfeed News, employees have been encouraging their bosses to speak up to senior leadership and question these policies.

In response, employees were shown a video (which has now been removed) in which Starbucks’ VP of inclusion and diversity Zing Shaw explained that there are “agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles” of the movement and could use them to “amplify divisiveness.”

Many took to social media to call out the company for pandering and #BoycottStarbucks is trending:

Former Starbucks CEO and failed presidential candidate Howard Schultz (remember him?) has yet to comment. This is as good a reminder as any that while corporations may be riding the tide of wokeness, they are ultimately only concerned with the bottom line. They will stay woke as long as it brings in the money.

(via Buzzfeed News, image: JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.