Claim: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was confronted by a shareholder over the company's support for same-sex marriage.
|TRUE: Howard Schultz affirmed the company's support for same-sex marriage at a shareholder meeting.|
|FALSE: Howard Schultz said supporters of traditional marriage were not allowed to be Starbucks stockholders or desired as Starbucks customers.|
Example: [Collected via e-mail, March 2013]
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz just said at their annual meeting that If you support traditional marriage, we don't want your business. He 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
Click LIKE if it is time to BOYCOTT far left radical Starbucks and their attack on traditional marriage
Origins: Starbucks, the ubiquitous behemoth of a coffee chain, was one of several prominent Washington-area companies (including Microsoft, Nike, and Amazon) who in early 2012 supported a state measure to legalize same-sex marriage, stating that:
This important legislation is aligned with Starbucks business practices and upholds our belief in the equal treatment of partners. It is core to who we are and what we value as a company. We are proud of our Pride Alliance Partner Network group, which is one of the largest Employer Resource Groups for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) employees in the U.S., helping to raise awareness about issues in the communities where we live and work.
For the last 20 years, our benefits program has offered domestic partner benefits in the U.S. These benefits include medical, dental, vision, prescription drugs and alternative health care coverage. All partners (part-time and full-time) in all work locations, whether in a store, a roasting plant or a corporate office, adhere to the same eligibility requirements for health coverage and have access to the same comprehensive health plans.
We are deeply dedicated to embracing diversity and treating one another with respect and dignity, and remain committed to providing an inclusive, supportive and safe work environment for all of our partners.
We look forward to seeing this legislation enacted into law.
At a Starbucks shareholders meeting in March 2013, shareholder Tom Strobhar (founder of The Corporate Morality Action Center, an organization which also opposes same-sex marriage) challenged Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz over the company's financial performance, which Strobhar suggested had been harmed by Starbucks' corporate support of same-sex marriage and the subsequent boycotts, saying: "In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing."
Schultz responded (and drew two rounds of applause from attendees) by asserting that Starbucks stock had performed well over the past year, affirming the company's support of same-sex marriage, and stating that not all corporate decisions were based purely on economics:
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.
A video of Schultz's response can be viewed here.
Last updated: 2 September 2015
Allen, Frederick E. "Howard Schultz to Anti-Gay-Marriage Starbucks Shareholder." Forbes. 22 March 2013. Neroulias, Nicole. "Washington State's Governor Signs Gay Marriage Law." Reuters. 13 February 2012. Spitzer, Gabriel. "Schultz Defends Starbucks' Support of Same-Sex Marriage." KPLU [Seattle]. 20 March 2013. Quan, Kristene. "Starbucks CEO Doubles Down on Gay-Marriage Support." Time. 25 March 2013. Daily Mail. "Caught on Camera." 24 March 2013.