Activist Group Claims Starbucks Stores Booted PRIDE Decor — Corporate Says It Didn’t Happen
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 26: Rainbow art is seen outside Starbucks in the West Village on June 26, 2020 in New York City. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, this year's pride march had to be canceled over health concerns. The annual event, which sees millions of attendees, marks its 50th anniversary since the first march following the Stonewall Inn riots. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
Noam Galai/Getty Images

An activist group accused coffee retailer Starbucks of dialing back the LGBTQ-themed decor — with two weeks still left to go of PRIDE month — but Starbucks is denying the claim.

According to a Twitter thread shared by Starbucks Workers United (@SBWorkersUnited) — “Starbucks Partners coming together to create a better workplace” — management in a number of Starbucks franchises have opted to tone down PRIDE displays all across the United States.

“BREAKING: In the middle of Pride Month, Starbucks BANS Pride decorations in stores across the United States,” the group tweeted, saying that workers had already begun to share the news via social media.

“This seems to be the first year the publicly ‘pro-LGBTQ+’ company has taken this kind of stance,” they continued.

They attributed the apparent change in policy to the recent backlash and boycotts aimed at retail giant Target over PRIDE displays that featured “coming out” greeting cards and “tuck-friendly” and “binding” swimwear for trans-identifying children and suggested that Starbucks was trying to avoid a similar drop-off in market capitalization.

“Taking a cue from Target, who bowed to anti-LGBTQ+ pressure and removed pride merchandise, corporate and district management are taking down the pride decorations that have become an annual tradition in stores,” they said.


They went on to argue that union stores should not have been able to take down the decorations without first returning to the bargaining table, but that many had done so anyway.

Pointing to the “many queer workers” within the corporation, the group went on to attack management for allegedly adopting changes to transgender insurance benefits that reportedly put a greater financial burden on the employees.

“If Starbucks was a true ally, they would stand up for us, especially during a time when LGBTQ+ people are under attack. A company that cares wouldn’t turn their back on the LGBTQ+ community to protect their already astronomically high profits,” the group concluded. “True allyship with the LGBTQ+ community is negotiating a union contract that legally locks-in our benefits, our freedom of expression, and ways to hold management accountable.”

Starbucks has since denied claims that any stores were told to remove PRIDE decorations, telling Florida’s Voice, “Starbucks has a history that includes more than four decades of recognizing and celebrating our diverse partners and customers – including year-round support for the LGBTQIA2+ community.”

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