News & Opinion | June 12, 2020 11:29 am

Starbucks Will Now Allow Employees to Wear Black Lives Matter Apparel

The company just unveiled a new Black Lives Matter T-shirt design

Starbucks
Starbucks is reversing a controversial ban on Black Lives Matter apparel.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Following backlash after BuzzFeed News published an internal memo in which Starbucks banned employees from wearing Black Lives Matter apparel earlier this week, the coffee chain has reversed its stance. According to a new memo on Friday, employees will now be allowed to wear a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt or pin until new branded shirts bearing the phrase are delivered to 200,000 employees, CNN Business reported.

In the earlier memo, Starbucks told employees that Black Lives Matter-related apparel was in violation of the employee dress code, which prohibits pins expressing any political, religious or personal affiliations, despite many employees telling BuzzFeed News that the company not only allows but actually hands out LGBTQ Pride pins to employees. The memo argued that Black Lives Matter apparel could be dangerous for employees, stating that “there are agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles” of the movement and could use them to “amplify divisiveness.”

Like many other brands, companies and public figures in recent weeks, Starbucks quickly came under fire for publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement on social media but failing to extend that support within its actual stores.

Following criticism including calls to boycott the company, Starbucks announced it would be reversing the decision on Friday, stating that it is “critical to support the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement as its founders intended” and vowing to “continue to work closely with community leaders, civil rights leaders, organizations, and our partners to understand the role that Starbucks can play, and to show up in a positive way for our communities.”

The company also shared a new Black Lives Matter T-shirt design that features the phrase “It’s not a moment, it’s a movement.”

“This movement is a catalyst for change, and right now, it’s telling us a lot of things need to be addressed so we can make space to heal,” the company wrote in a letter to employees.

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