#BoycottStarbucks trends after chain prohibits staff wearing Black Lives Matter clothing in fear of 'inciting violence'
According to reports, Starbucks management argued that wearing clothing and accessories highlighting Black Lives Matter could be 'misunderstood and potentially incite violence'
Starbucks has been in the news after the multinational chain of coffeehouses and roastery announced its plan to shut up to 200 coffee shops across Canada amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Soon thereafter, the coffeehouse found itself surrounded in a major row when a memo circulated where employees were prohibited from wearing clothing or accessories that mention the Black Lives Matter movement.
On June 4, Starbucks Coffee tweeted to its followers, "Black lives matter. We are committed to being a part of change," along with a set of four images where it said it has committed $1 million to promote racial equity. Soon after, a few users pointed out how they had prohibited employees from wearing clothes in support of Black Lives Matter. According to an internal bulletin obtained by BuzzFeed News, management argued that wearing clothing and accessories highlighting Black Lives Matter could be "misunderstood and potentially incite violence."
Soon, a dress code policy was introduced and according to the same report, Calvin Bensen, a 22-year-old barista from Atlanta, told BuzzFeed News the company’s response was “disappointing in ways I can’t express in words," and slammed it as "violent." "My skin color incites violence at Starbucks. Should I not come to work?" he asked. "It is silencing and Starbucks is complicit. Now more than ever, Starbucks needs to stand with us."
The news soon circulated on Twitter and went viral with many protesting to #BoycottStarbucks. "Despite this post on June 4, Starbucks stated in an internal memo that Black Lives Matter attire was prohibited due to its dress code policy. But Starbucks not only exempts LGBTQ buttons and attire, it hands them out. #BoycottStarbucks," one tweet read and another said, "you can #BoycottStarbucks but please, if you do go to Starbucks and are upset about what they did, DO NOT take it out on the employees. the employees are not the company. be nice to your baristas please" one tweet read.
"Question, when have you seen a @Starbucks employee wear anything other than a polo or plain shirt? Do they not already have a dress code that eliminates anything other than their logo? #BoycottStarbucks," one asked and another said, "I never liked @Starbucks. Code lock on the door, half the NYC locations have no bathroom ass. Get that @711 Coffee dawg. That's what #antifa drinks! That Brazilian Bold keeps you beating up police for 5-6 hours! #Starbucks #BlackLivesMatter #BoycottStarbucks.
"Today was full of firsts and lasts. I will be watching my first ever @NASCAR race and have drank my last cup of @Starbucks coffee. Ain’t NOTHING that good. #ByeFelicia #BoycottStarbucks #BlackLivesMatter," one said and another wrote, "Some owners really can’t hide their racism while trying to pretend they are allies. *Shrug* #BoycottStarbucks."