The Starbucks Boycott

Starbucks cupStarbucks has recently come under controversy after CEO Howard Schultz sent out a company-wide letter detailing plans to hire 10,000 refugees in countries where the coffee giant operates.  This move, in direct response to Trump’s decision to ban the citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US.  It’s met with a strong reaction with social media, with some declaring their support of Starbucks while others have called for a boycott.

The executive order signed on Friday temporarily bans citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US.  Schultz declared that this was an “unprecedented time”, when “the promise of the American Dream [is] being called into question”.  He outlined some of the actions his company is taking, including plans to hire 10,000 refugees.  The UN recognizes some 65 million people around the world as “refugees”, and Starbucks is developing plans to hire at least 10,000 of them in the many countries where they do business.  Starbucks isn’t the only company who have been critical of the Muslim ban; Google, Facebook, General Electric and others have been knocking it since it was first signed.

Not long after the announcement, the company faced backlash from Trump’s supporters, and the #boycottstarbucks hashtag began trending on Twitter.  Some of them have attacked the company for hiring refugees instead of veterans, yet Starbucks already has a program dedicated to hiring veterans.  The hashtag transcended political views, and has been used by those who want to support the company.

Schultz’s letter also makes reference to Mexico, partially because social media users in Mexico have called for boycotts of American companies (including Starbucks).  He pointed out that Starbucks has strong ties to the country, sourcing coffee from Mexican growers and employing thousands of Mexicans.  So while Schultz’s letter has called for a boycott from some Americans, this move could also endear the company to customers south of the border and beyond.

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