That was quick!
Talk about an about face, Starbucks appears to have caved to the pressure.
Just a couple days ago, Starbucks reportedly told its employees they could not wear "Black Lives Matter" gear at work because the company bans political messages in personal attire.
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Not only will they allow BLM gear, CNBC reports the company is printing up 250,000 custom Black Lives Matter shirts for its employees:
Starbucks said Friday that the chain would allow workers to wear attire and accessories highlighting the Black Lives Matter movement, reversing its prior stance after social media users called for boycotts of the company.
BuzzFeed first reported on Wednesday that the coffee chain would not allow its employees to wear Black Lives Matter clothing or accessories, and management justified the decision by saying that such items could be misunderstood and incite violence. While Starbucks has a policy against wearing personal, political or religious clothing or accessories, workers told BuzzFeed that the company hands out buttons and attire celebrating LGBTQ rights and marriage equality.
Now, Starbucks will be doing the same for Black Lives Matter. The chain will make 250,000 shirts with a design that includes “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” available to workers in its company-owned cafes in the United States and Canada. The company said that it began planning to provide shirts for employees last week.
Until the shirts arrive, employees can wear pins or shirts to show support.
In early June, as protesters filled the streets of U.S. cities and small towns to call attention to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black Americans at the hands of police, Starbucks joined the flood of other corporations supporting Black Lives Matter. It pledged $1 million to organizations that promote “racial equity and more inclusive and just communities.”
After BuzzFeed reported the chain’s policy, consumers on social media began calling for boycotts of the coffee chain, which has drawn fire in the past for racial insensitivity that contradicts its progressive reputation. In 2018, Starbucks closed down cafes across the country for an afternoon of racial bias training after police arrested two Black men at one of its Philadelphia locations for sitting down without ordering anything.
And from NBC:
Starbucks baristas will be allowed to wear symbols supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in a hasty about-face in company policy announced Friday.
The coffee powerhouse was facing criticism after BuzzFeed published an internal Starbucks memo reminding employees that they're barred from wearing anything that shows support for the sweeping campaign against police brutality and systemic racism.
In the memo, Starbucks warned that wearing Black Lives Matter attire could spark "agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles" of the movement and could use them to "amplify divisiveness.”
The memo went on to say employees could not wear buttons or pins when they “interfere with safety or threatens to harm customer relations or otherwise unreasonably interferes with Starbucks public image." It referred to its policy banning buttons or pins that "advocate a political, religious or personal issue."
The hashtag #BoycottStarbucks was trending on Twitter after news of the memo broke, with people expressing disappointment considering the brand had publicly shown support on its social media feeds for Black Lives Matter, stating that it was "committed to being a part of change."
By mid-morning on Friday, the Seattle-based coffee company reversed its decision and announced its support of Black Lives Matter.
"Our partners (employees) told us that they need a way to express themselves at work and we heard them," Starbucks tweeted on Friday. "They may now wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts, pins and name tags."
The nation has seen more than two weeks of sweeping protests in support of Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of a white police officer who kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes as he pleaded "I can't breathe."
In a company statement, Starbucks said it's always stood with the crusade against racism — but didn't mention the memo telling employees not to voice backing for Black Lives Matter.
"We will not be bystanders. This has never been more true than today," according to the statement. "We see you. We hear you. Black Lives Matter. That is a fact and will never change."
The company said it's designing its own version of Black Lives matter t-shirts that would arriving in stores shortly for employees to wear.
"Until these arrive, we’ve heard you want to show your support, so just be you," the Starbucks statement said.