Coffee chain Starbucks is facing backlash after they allegedly banned workers from wearing any items of clothing in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Starbucks LGBTQ+ partners wear LGBTQ+ pins and shirts, that also could incite and create violent experiences amongst partners and customers,” a Black transgender Starbucks employee told news outlet BuzzFeed. “We have partners who experienced harassment and transphobia/homophobia for wearing their pins and shirts, and Starbucks still stands behind them.”
The publication obtained a memo sent to employees featuring a video in which its VP of inclusion and diversity explained that “agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles” of the movement and could use them to “amplify divisiveness.”
Despite the memo, Starbucks issued a statement in support of the movement — but their workers say that’s not what’s happening behind the scenes.
“My skin color incites violence at Starbucks. Should I not come to work?” Barista Calvin Bensen told BuzzFeed. “It is silencing and Starbucks is complicit. Now more than ever, Starbucks needs to stand with us.”