Starbucks warned its employees in a memo reported by Buzzfeed News that wearing clothing or accessories highlighting the Black Lives Movement was prohibited.
A spokesperson from Starbucks argued that, whilst the company was committed to ending systemic racism, the wearing of Black Lives Matter attire could be misunderstood and incite violence and that the ban was necessary in ensuring a “safe and welcoming” environment for both employees and customers. The memo warned of “agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles of the Black Lives Matter movement” and that they may “amplify divisiveness”.
The memo also reiterated that Starbucks had generally prohibited all accessories that advocate a religious, personal or political issue. However, several staff-members of Starbucks reportedly claimed that the company was relaxed with regards to this rule, allowing them to wear accessories promoting marriage equality and LGBTQ rights. Some even alleged that the company itself gave them accessories to wear in celebration for Pride Month.
The official Starbucks twitter, on June 1, tweeted out a statement declaring that they “stand in solidarity with our Black partners, customers and communities” and “We will not be bystanders”. In another tweet, it talked about “open and honest conversations about racial injustice” and that “It’s going to take each of us to drive necessary change”.