Starbucks has denied accusations made by its workers union that the popular coffee chain has banned Pride decorations halfway through Pride Month. If the claims had been true, it would have been a prime example of the increasingly feidic backlash against companies that express their support for LGBTQ rights.
The Starbucks Workers Union tweeted that, “for the last two weeks, Starbucks workers have taken to social media to report that the company is no longer allowing Pride decorations in-store.” However, Starbucks spokesperson Andrew Trull addressed the false rumors, saying that “there has been no change to any policy on this matter.” Trull went on to state that “we unwaveringly support the LGBTQIA2+ community” and that leaders in stores are still encouraged “to celebrate with their communities including for U.S. Pride month in June.”
The controversy began back in March, when Bud Light featured transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in one of their ads, and was further escalated when Target released a Pride swimwear collection. In response to the outcry, Target announced that it would pull back its Pride merchandise. With recent bomb threats issued in five states against Target stores, it is understandable why Starbucks is now wary of making a statement for LGBTQ rights.
However, the union argued that Starbucks has a history of not standing up for LGBTQ people, even its own employees. In October of last year, some trans Starbucks workers reportedly faced changes to their health benefit plan, which gave them less access to certain providers and required them to pay out of pocket for some treatments. Trull clarified that the Starbucks health care policy has not changed.
Despite the union’s claims, Starbucks has yet to show any indication of a change in policy regarding its celebration of Pride Month. As Trull said, the company “continues to encourage our store leaders to celebrate” and stands in support of the LGBTQIA2+ community.
BREAKING: In the middle of Pride Month, Starbucks BANS Pride decorations in stores across the United States.
— Starbucks Workers United (@SBWorkersUnited) June 13, 2023