United States Coffee brand, Starbucks have reversed earlier stance forbidding members of staff from wearing T-shirts with the trending phrase, Black Lives Matter.
The company said on Friday that employees would be allowed to wear Black Lives Matter shirts and pins, a sudden reversal of their policy that had banned the phrase because it could “amplify divisiveness.”
Amid social media backlash to the policy, the coffee chain also declared that it would provide 250,000 Starbucks-branded Black Lives Matter shirts for baristas and other employees who want them.
“Starbucks stands in solidarity with our Black partners, community and customers, and understands the desire to express themselves,”
The company said in a statement. “We continue to listen to our partners (employees) about how they want to take a stand for justice, while proudly wearing the green apron and standing united together.”
Calls to boycott Starbucks emerged after Starbucks posted a series of messages on social media that many employees considered to be hypocritical. On June 4, the company’s official Twitter account posted: “Black Lives Matter.
We are committed to being a part of change.” But employees who wanted to project a similar message by wearing shirts or pins on the job had learned in recent days that doing so was prohibited.
The action amplified criticism of the coffee chain, an internal Starbucks dress code memo stated that wearing Black Lives Matter clothing and accessories could be misunderstood and incite violence.
The guidance was issued in response to inquiries from store managers about whether it was acceptable for employees to wear Black Lives Matter buttons, pins or shirts on the job.
On Friday, Starbucks said on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that it had changed its policy.
In response to questions on social media, the company clarified that the 250,000 Starbucks-branded Black Lives Matters shirts would not be for sale to customers but would be distributed to employees who wanted them.
The company also clarified that until those shirts were ready, employees could wear their own Black Lives Matters attire.
Several customers also expressed dissatisfaction with the change of heart, While Many thanked Starbucks for listening and rising to the moment.