A Starbucks campaign aimed at tackling the issue of race relations has been axed after it was slammed on social media.
Starbucks was told to ‘stick to making coffee’ by angry social media users after it announced last week that baristas would be writing #RaceTogether on coffee cups in a bid to start a dialogue on race with customers.
But faced with mixed support from Starbucks’ own employees – some of whom were reportedly uncomfortable sharing their personal opinions with customers – and mounting criticism on social media, the chain has decided to axe the campaign, though it says it will still be starting forums and hiring 10,000 new employees from diverse backgrounds to man branches in disadvantaged communities.
‘While there has been criticism of the initiative — and I know this hasn’t been easy for any of you— let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise,’ said CEO Howard Schultz.
‘We leaned in because we believed that starting this dialogue is what matters most.’
While the campaign undoubtedly backfired, there was some support. Alderman Antonio French, a community leader in St. Louis, Missouri, and a vocal advocate for ending racial tensions, said the scale of the move was ‘worth praise.’
‘I applaud Starbucks for attempting to start a dialogue with #RaceTogether,’ he tweeted.
‘The scale of the attempt alone is worth praise.’