Starbucks Responds To Being Called Out For Leaked Memo Exposing Contradictory Stance on BLM and Pride

Starbucks Black Lives Matter Internal MemoSamantha Agate | Talent Recap

Many huge businesses and retail chains have put out public statements recently showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Starbucks was no exception, even pledging to donate $1 to organizations promoting racial equality. But, a memo was leaked that shows that Starbucks may not be so supportive of Black Lives Matter behind the scenes.

Starbucks Barred Employees From Wearing BLM Merchandise

According to this internal memo that was leaked, employees were warned not to wear clothing or accessories that supported the Black Lives Matter movement. This includes shirts that say “I can’t breathe” the last words of Georg Floyd before he died under the knee of Derek Chauvin. The Starbucks memo said that wearing BLM merchandise goes against the employees being told not to “advocate a political, religious or personal issue” in accordance to official Starbucks policies. BuzzFeed attained the memo which says that the company “argued that wearing clothing and accessories highlighting Black Lives Matter could be misunderstood and potentially incite violence.”


This came after several employees expressed that they wanted to wear BLM merchandise in solidarity with those protesting all over the world for justice. The entire situation caused massive confusion amongst the employees who were encouraged to wear merchandise supporting other causes like LGBTQ equality. A manager at a Starbucks location in Washington told BuzzFeed “I work in a store where I am one of five people of color out of 30, and it would be nice to be able to show some sort of unity with them.” He continued saying “I personally am having a rough time with this, as most people know Starbucks caters to a predominantly Caucasian customer base and Starbucks expects us to uphold an amazing customer experience for these demographics, to ensure the money keeps coming in.” He was just one of the many Starbucks employees across America that spoke out about this contradictory internal memo.

The Memo Led #BoycottStarbucks To Trend On Twitter

Starbucks employees speaking out about this memo caused quite the stir on social media. People also believe that there is some connection between the fact that Starbucks just announced that they will be closing 400 stores to focus on to-go options and the fact that the company is also getting roasted (no pun intended) for not allowing employees to wear BLM merch. One Twitter user suggested more stores will be closing because they will be losing more customers.

Another Twitter user suggested that people should leave BLM signs outside of Starbucks locations.

And of course, some other coffee-lovers suggested that people should start going to fellow coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts more often.

Starbucks Finally Spoke Out About The Controversy

When an employee tweeted that the company encouraging workers to wear merchandise supporting pride month was contradictory, she made a valid point. She said that both “BLM and Pride were both created to fight injustice.” This prompted the company to reply to the tweet and say “All U.S. CO partners will be sent a Starbucks partner shirt to lend our collective voice in support of our Black partners, customers and communities. The design will come from the Black Partner Network emphasizing our role and responsibility to not be bystanders.” They did not specifically reference the leaked memo in question.

If you are a current or former Starbucks coffee lover, will you be taking your business elsewhere?


It seems like the general consensus of people on Twitter will now be making their morning cup of joe at home, even with the company now announcing they will be giving employees these BLM t-shirts.


Samantha Agate
Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate is a contributor and host for Talent Recap on YouTube with a previous byline at The Blast. She graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a degree in Media Studies and a Concentration in Journalism. When she isn't binge-watching reality television shows or binge-eating fried food, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and petting puppies.

Subscribe for Latest Update!
Join the Fun!!