Although Starbucks had publicly declared their support of the Black Lives Matter movement on their social media, their employees tell a different story.
The company sent a memo to its employees last week, warning staffers against wearing accessories or clothes bearing messages in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The memo was obtained by BuzzFeed News, and reminded staffers that such messages are prohibited under the company’s policy against accessories that “advocated a political, religious or personal issue.”
But according to employers, the company sings a different tune when it comes to supporting other movements like the LGBTQ + equality.
“Starbucks LGBTQ+ partners wear LGBTQ+ pins and shirts, that also could incite and create violent experiences amongst partners and customers,” one black transgender employee of the coffee chain told BuzzFeed.
“We have partners who experienced harassment and transphobia/homophobia for wearing their pins and shirts, and Starbucks still stands behind them,”
And in a video reportedly sent with the memo, a company executive warned employees that “agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles” of the movement could seek to “amplify divisiveness” if the messages are displayed in stores.
“We know your intent is genuine and understand how personal this is for so many of us. This is important and we hear you,” the memo read.
A company spokesperson confirmed the memo’s authenticity to BuzzFeed and said that such messages are prohibited “to create a safe and welcoming” environment at Starbucks locations.
“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,” the spokesperson said.