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Message Calls For Boycott of Starbucks For Its 'Attack on Traditional Marriage'

Circulating protest message claims that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told a shareholder to sell his shares if he supported traditional marriage and that people who are for traditional marriage cannot buy shares in the company.  The message calls for a boycott of the company due to their "far left radical" attack on traditional marriage.

Gay Marriage


Brief Analysis
CEO Howard Schultz did suggest to a complaining shareholder that he was free to sell his shares and invest elsewhere if he was not happy with the returns on his investment and did not agree with Starbucks policy of embracing diversity. However, the message misrepresents his comments which, when seen in context, cannot be reasonably considered a "radical attack" on traditional marriage. The protest message also does not make clear that the shareholder who raised the issue is the founder of an anti-gay marriage organization himself and quite obviously asked the question to push his own agenda.

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Starbucks Boycott Call

Breaking News: Starbucks moves even farther left and tells traditional marriage supporters we don't want your business.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at their annual meeting basically told a shareholder to sell his shares if he supported traditional marriage and didn't like Starbucks stance against it. So let's get this straight. If you support the 5000 year old tradition that marriage is between one man and one woman, you can't buy shares in his far left radical company that sells designer $4.00 Venti Decaf Lattes? Done! I'll take a Chick Fil-A and their 99 cent coffee instead. Oh and Starbucks charges $3.00 for just bottled water there. Chick Fil-A will give you a big container of ice water free even if you don't buy anything there. What company seems to "care" more about people and the other their pocket books? 

Click LIKE if it is time to BOYCOTT far left radical Starbucks and their attack on traditional marriage

Below are 3 sources on the radical anti traditional marriage views of Starbucks to verify. article/ starbucks-ceo-no-tolerance- for-traditional-marriage-s upporters

Detailed Analysis

This message, which calls for a boycott of coffee giant Starbucks because of its support for gay marriage, is currently circulating rapidly via social media and the blogosphere. The message claims that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told a shareholder he could sell his shares if he supported traditional marriage and "didn't like Starbucks stance against it".  The message further claims that if you support the tradition that a marriage should be between a man and a woman, you cannot buy shares in the company and Starbucks does not want your business. Therefore, suggests the message, if you are against Starbucks "attack" on traditional marriage, you should boycott the company and buy your beverages elsewhere.

This boycott call is just one among several "Boycott Starbucks" campaigns that arose after the company endorsed a 2012 Washington state bill to legalize gay marriage and said publicly that it was "deeply dedicated to embracing diversity." The National Organization for Marriage was one group that launched such a boycott and vowed to make Starbucks "pay a price" for their stance.

The above boycott message apparently arose out of angst caused by a response Schultz made to a shareholder at Starbucks 2013 annual meeting in Seattle, Washington.

When shareholder, Tom Strobhar, complained to Schultz at the meeting about a "disappointing" drop in first-quarter profits which he blamed on the National Organization for Marriage boycott, the CEO responded:

“Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year. I don’t know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38% over the last 12 months. Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds.”
He then went on to make the remark that the protest message apparently takes such umbrage to:

"If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much".

Taken in context, the CEO's remarks, although blunt, nevertheless seem measured, reasonable and respectful and could hardly be construed as a "far left radical attack" on traditional marriage. As Shultz noted, the policy of the company is to embrace diversity of all kinds. The fact that Starbucks supports the right of gay couples to get married does not mean that it is attacking or against the right of heterosexual couples to also get married. The two are not mutually exclusive, at least in this writer's opinion.

And, Shultz certainly did not claim that people who supported traditional marriage cannot buy shares in the company He does imply by his remarks that people are free to invest elsewhere if they do not agree with the company's policy, but that is certainly not the same as suggesting that they are not allowed to buy shares at all. Nor did he suggest or even imply that Starbucks does not want the business of traditional marriage supporters.

The protest message rather conveniently forgets to mention that Tom Strobhar, the shareholder who raised the issue, is the founder of the anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage Corporate Morality Action Cente, and quite obviously came to the meeting with an existing agenda.

Of course, whether or not you support the call to boycott Starbucks will depend on your own worldview. But, regardless of which side of the argument you stand on, the exchange between Shultz and Strobhar should be considered fairly and in context. And, agree with the policy or not, it seems refreshing to hear of a company that puts principles above profit, just as Chick-fil-A has done from a radically different perspective.

Finally, potential boycotters should perhaps take note that Microsoft also publicly supported and endorsed the Washington state gay marriage bill. As did Nike. Especially if they intend to vent their displeasure against Starbucks by sharing boycott calls via a Microsoft Windows computer. Or if they decide to dissipate some of their Starbucks fuelled rage by strapping on their Nikes and going for a run.
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Last updated: March 25, 2013
First published: March 25, 2013
Written by Brett M. Christensen
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