Starbucks has strongly denied claims made by a Twitter account named “Starbucks Workers United” as well as claims of victory made by several prominent far-right commentators that it has banned Pride decorations in stores halfway through Pride Month.
“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,” the Starbucks workers’ union tweeted.
But Starbucks spokesperson Andrew Trull pushed back against the allegations saying there has been no change to corporate policy regarding displays for Pride or any other heritage month. “We unwaveringly support the LGBTQIA2+ community,” he said in a statement. “There has been no change to any policy on this matter and we continue to encourage our store leaders to celebrate with their communities including for U.S. Pride month in June.”
“We’re deeply concerned by false information that is being spread especially as it relates to our inclusive store environments, our company culture, and the benefits we offer our partners,” he added.
Starbucks, who this year partnered with artist Tim Singleton to design a series of special Pride-themed tumblers, also pushed back against another allegation that it had changed some Trans Starbucks workers’ health benefit plans, forcing them to pay out of pocket for certain treatments and causing them to lose access to certain providers. Trull told The New Republic in a separate conversation that the Starbucks health care policy has not changed and denied the allegation.
A pride flag display was seen at the W 49th St Starbucks location near Hells Kitchen in NYC. The photo was shared by NY Times contributor Benjamin Ryan.
Starbucks supports LGBTQ Pride.🌈 pic.twitter.com/BGzTQROXAp
— Benjamin Ryan (@benryanwriter) June 13, 2023
Another Pride flag display was seen in Fraser, Michigan, according to Twitter user Richard Seeger.
Like the War of 1812, I checked to see if the Pride Flag is still there… Fraser, Michigan is considered a conservative area but it’s been on the window since I moved here in December unless this rule applies to in-store decorations ☕️ 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/dEm4KLQFAR
— Richard Seeger (@Lion2Ya) June 13, 2023
Despite the denials, conservative commentators have been celebrating the false claims. Founder of Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk, took to Twitter, writing: “BREAKING: Starbucks has banned Pride decorations in its stores halfway through Pride Month, the company’s workers union has revealed. Leftwing Trans activists claim this means Starbucks is ‘caving.’ Good! Keep the pressure on, folks.”
Fellow conservative commentator, Evan Kilgore wrote: “Let’s go,” and added clapping hands emojis.
“HUGE: Starbucks is taking down all Pride decorations in every store across the United States. People are sick of sexual ideology being forced down their throats, even at Starbucks. Just sell coffee!” Rogan O’Handley, another conservative commentator tweeted.
BREAKING: Starbucks has banned Pride decorations in its stores halfway through Pride Month, the company’s workers union has revealed. Leftwing Trans activists claim this means Starbucks is "caving".
Good! Keep the pressure on, folks.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 13, 2023
“Target removed Pride items/displays from stores after losing billions…Starbucks has allegedly banned Pride decorations for the rest of the month,” Savanah Hernandez, a reporter from Turning Point USA, tweeted. “Based on the incredible backtrack we’re seeing…maybe corporations and the federal government backing a giant sex cult wasn’t the best choice.”
Target removed Pride items/displays from stores after losing billions
Bud Light lost billions after partnering with Dylan Mulvaney
Starbucks has allegedly banned Pride decorations for the rest of the month
The White House just condemned & banned the trans influencers who flashed…
— Savanah Hernandez (@sav_says_) June 13, 2023
Michael Seifert, the CEO and founder of PublicSq, a conservative marketplace application wrote, “Starbucks just BANNED pride decorations in all their stores across the United States. Woke corporations are beginning to realize that Americans are sick of having the rainbow flag nonsense shoved in their faces.”
“Keep up the pressure,” Seifert added.
The pushback on the false claims comes as companies have faced a wave of ultraconservative pushback for expressing support for the LGBTQ+ community and equal rights. The outrage began when Bud Light launched a campaign with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in March and reached a tipping point when Target was falsely accused of selling “tuck-em” LGBTQ+ swimwear to children. Target responded by saying it would pull back its Pride merchandise in response to the outcry.