The coffeehouse chain, Starbucks, is being boycotted by many of its consumers, due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After an online controversy in the beginning of October 2023, the corporation has been losing customers around the world.
In the beginning of October 2023, a post was broadcasted by Starbucks Workers United (also referred to as Workers United and Service Employees International Union or SEIU) on the app X (formerly known as Twitter). The post revealed an image of a statement that said, “Starbucks Workers United Stands with Palestine,” along with more information regarding their stance on the Israeli-Palestinian war that is currently happening.
Some of Starbucks’s audience and consumers were displeased with this initial statement by the union workers which provoked an online discourse. The conversations online started to result in people refusing to buy from the company due to disappointment that workers were allowed to represent this statement along with condemning the Israeli government and military.
Shortly after the union workers posted their statement, the Starbucks corporation released a letter in response to what Starbucks Workers United announced to the public online. Their letter ensured they disagreed with the post released by the union workers.
Executive Vice President and Chief communications officer AJ Jones stated in the letter, “We strongly disagree with the views expressed by Workers United, including its local affiliates, union organizers and those who identify as members of “Starbucks Workers United”- none of these groups speak for Starbucks Coffee Company and do not represent our company’s views, positions, or beliefs.”
The Starbucks corporation also decided to pursue legal action against the SEIU for using the company’s logo alongside of their public statement, claiming it was “misuse of our name, logo and intellectual property.” A complaint was filed in federal court against the workers as an inescapable pronouncement of their brand’s image.
In the letter, the corporation condemns its own SEIU and justifies their reason to pursue legal action by stating, “Such reckless and reprehensible behavior must be addressed through the lens of our partners’ safety and public clarity of Starbucks official position.”
After the release of Starbucks’s letter, consumers who do are in support Palestine during this current conflict between Israel and Palestine, decided they would boycott the company. The current boycott has not only been spreading around the United States, but around the world as well. Videos are circulating around spaces on the internet, such as the app TikTok, showing the chain coffeehouse being empty with no customers, with what would seem to be rush hour.
Baristas online for the company of Starbucks have been voicing their own opinions about the current boycott, so much so that some are quitting their jobs, as well as even releasing recipes of the drinks for the public to recreate on their own.