ONTD Political

Starbucks chief executive: Anti-gay marriage shareholders can sell their shares.

8:06 am - 03/23/2013
At Starbucks’ annual meeting in Seattle on Wednesday a shareholder complained to the chief executive, Howard Schultz, that the company had lost customers because of its support for gay marriage. Last year Starbucks announced its support for Washington’s state’s referendum backing gay marriage, and in response the National Organization for Marriage launched a boycott of the coffee chain.

“In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings, shall we say politely, were a bit disappointing,” said the shareholder, Tom Strobhar, whom the Huffington Post identifies at the founder of the anti-gay marriage Corporate Morality Action Center.

Was Schultz taken aback? Not in the least. He responded, “Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year. I don’t know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38% over the last 12 months. Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds.”

At that point the audience interrupted in cheers and applause. Then Schultz concluded, “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.” More cheers.

A Washington Post poll this week found that support for gay marriage among Americans has shot up to 58% in favor and 36% against, a complete turnaround in less than 10 years. Schultz’s stand isn’t nearly as daring as it would have been a few years back, but still, it’s impressive to see a CEO think about more than the bottom line and get cheered by his shareholders for it.

Source: Forbes

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pepsquad 23rd-Mar-2013 01:24 pm (UTC)
win! i need me a latte
thesilverymoon 23rd-Mar-2013 01:30 pm (UTC)
This is excellent. I'm not a fan of Starbucks (love me some local coffee shops) but I'm glad they're admitting this.
kittenmommy 24th-Mar-2013 02:57 am (UTC)

I hate Starbucks. Their overpriced coffee is some of the worst I've ever had.

I just e mailed this post to Dunkin' Donuts and said, "It's your move". I hope they respond! :D
granting 23rd-Mar-2013 01:36 pm (UTC)
Video here
jeunelis 23rd-Mar-2013 01:49 pm (UTC)
love it.
aviv_b 23rd-Mar-2013 02:01 pm (UTC)
LOL - think I'll treat myself to a grande soy latte today.
pepsquad 23rd-Mar-2013 02:16 pm (UTC)
totally this!
plumtreeblossom 23rd-Mar-2013 02:08 pm (UTC)
Applause! I'll buy a bag of ground roast this weekend!
fragbert 23rd-Mar-2013 02:10 pm (UTC)
idemandjustice 23rd-Mar-2013 02:14 pm (UTC)
Now I feel bad for not going to Starbucks more often. If only their drinks weren't so pricey. I'll try to budget it in more often anyway, though.
kagehikario 24th-Mar-2013 03:56 am (UTC)
Happy as I am about this, I never feel I owe patronage to a company because they uphold a basic standard of decency and equality.
rhysande 23rd-Mar-2013 02:28 pm (UTC)
I hope this leads to other companies standing up for same sex marriage.
blackpuddle 23rd-Mar-2013 02:30 pm (UTC)
As much as I hate that company at times, I love this.
hey_spectrum 23rd-Mar-2013 02:37 pm (UTC)
2 reasons why I love Starbucks:
1. Marriage equality support.
2. They're one of few national companies consistently hiring and paying well.
a_leprechaun 23rd-Mar-2013 02:52 pm (UTC)
Don't they offer health insurance, too? No idea how good it is, but any at all is better than most service jobs in the US will get you.
lady_tigerlily 23rd-Mar-2013 02:52 pm (UTC)
As a rival coffee company, I'm inclined to dislike Starbucks, but I have always given them the biggest of kudos for this. And I think it is important that the CEO of such a large and popular company make this statement publicly, regardless of how "daring" it is.

Also, I'm astounded at how relatively civil the comments are on the source.
spinnigold 23rd-Mar-2013 02:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah yeah good job for not being completely shit, now pay the tax you owe :T
ljtaylor 23rd-Mar-2013 07:43 pm (UTC)
redstar826 23rd-Mar-2013 03:04 pm (UTC)
support for gay rights is becoming more normal in the corporate world, I think. Bigotry is bad for business.
agentsculder 23rd-Mar-2013 04:38 pm (UTC)
I think that's true as well, but I think it may depend on the business you're in. Food service companies like Starbuck's want to capture as large an audience as possible, so inviting a boycott is a stupid idea. The notable exception is Chik-Fil-A, which has managed to do well despite its highly public exclusionary policies.

Honestly, most of Starbuck's customers are on the younger side, and that population is overwhelmingly FOR marriage equality. Increasingly, it's only the population over 55 that has more people against marriage equality than are for it.
tabaqui 23rd-Mar-2013 03:11 pm (UTC)
I don't drink coffee, but my SO loves it. Happy to be supporting a company that speaks up and speaks out and doesn't play any stupid little games or put caveats on their support.

moonbladem 23rd-Mar-2013 03:36 pm (UTC)
I wish I could have seen the look on Tom Strobhar's face when Howard Schultz verbally slapped him twice. I'll bet it was priceless.
tinylegacies 23rd-Mar-2013 03:40 pm (UTC)
Yay! I would be sad if I had to start boycotting Starbucks.
betray802 24th-Mar-2013 12:34 am (UTC)
Oh goddess, Sonia's Starbucks card must be adamantium with latinum trim, encrusted with diamonds. "So ... can we, like ... pitch a yurt in the parking lot and just live here? Don't mind Blue, we promise we'll keep him on a leash."
abiding 23rd-Mar-2013 04:43 pm (UTC)
Four for you, Starbucks!
wrestlingdog 23rd-Mar-2013 05:01 pm (UTC)
I fucking love this.

 photo oprah-deal-with-it.gif

 photo shade.gif

I don't like coffee, but this is awesome; I'll have to get something at Starbucks soon.
brookiki 24th-Mar-2013 01:00 am (UTC)
Not a coffee fan, but I get their toffee nut hot chocolate, which is delicious if a bit sweet.
cinnamontoast 23rd-Mar-2013 05:11 pm (UTC)

Awesome. I'll stick with my cheap-ass homemade coffee, but it's still awesome.
wrestlingdog 24th-Mar-2013 01:25 am (UTC)
One of my favorite .gifs.
skellington1 23rd-Mar-2013 05:17 pm (UTC)
I don't frequent Starbucks unless I'm out of town -- I live in the beautiful NW land of of copious coffee, and I'd rather support smaller businesses -- but in a lot of ways they really have to be given kudos for their actions as a company. That and the health-care-for-part-time-employees thing are big deals!
tigerdreams 23rd-Mar-2013 05:38 pm (UTC)
"Not every decision is an economic decision."

I want to print this out and staple it to the forehead of every other CEO in America.
girly123 23rd-Mar-2013 10:59 pm (UTC)
I want to print this out and hand it to Starbucks franchisees when they run local coffee shops out of business.
spiritoftherain 23rd-Mar-2013 06:14 pm (UTC)
Well, now I feel less bad about the occasional times I frequent Starbucks.

(Still haven't forgiven them for buying out my favourite coffee place, though. There is no excuse for having two Starbucks half a block away from each other. In a very small city.)

Edited at 2013-03-23 06:14 pm (UTC)
etherealtsuki 23rd-Mar-2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
Too bad that Starbucks would slut-shame their former employees when one the managers had raped them when they were a minor. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Teen/teenage-starbucks-barista-sues-sex-demands-work/story?id=9631145

Glad that they're not anti-gay but they can still kiss my ass and I will continue to boycott them and throw shade at them.
yesthatnagia 23rd-Mar-2013 06:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

As important to me as marriage equality is... standing out against rape is far, far more important to me. And I'm not taking my money anywhere that condones coercion or rape.
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