The coffee giant took to Twitter Friday to announce it will permit baristas and other employees wearing Black Lives Matter apparel and accessories, a reversal from its position last week.
“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,” the company tweeted.
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
Last week, Starbucks management claimed that wearing such items could be misinterpreted and maybe even incite violence if some “agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles” of Black Lives Matter or “intentionally re-purpose them to amplify divisiveness,” according to a memo obtained by Buzz Feed News for an article published Wednesday.
The memo, which points to Starbucks’ rule that employees can’t wear pins or buttons “that advocate a political, religious or personal issue,” followed outreach by store managers regarding employees interested in donning such apparel.
“We know your intent is genuine and understand how personal this is for so many of us,” the memo read. “Our leaders are discussing how we can show up and stand united with our black partners, customers and community members while proudly wearing the green apron in our stores.”
Employees told the outlet that Starbucks does permit and even provides them with pins and shirts to celebrate marriage equality and LGBTQ rights this month, which celebrates Pride.
“We have partners who experienced harassment and transphobia/homophobia for wearing their pins and shirts, and Starbucks still stands behind them,” a black transgender Starbucks employee told BuzzFeed.
Starbucks’ change of heart comes on the heels of an online move to boycott the chain.
“@Starbucks banning BLM merch but saying ‘we are committed to being a part of the change’? Explain,” one Twitter user tweeted Thursday.
“Just found out @Starbucks is catering to the comfort of their racist customers by asking their staff not to wear anything in support of @Blklivesmatter so I won’t be visiting them and I’ll be telling EVERYONE I know to boycott them as well,” musician Katie Earl, of The Mowgli’s, tweeted.
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