Starbucks axes controversial ‘Race Together’ campaign

Starbucks pulls plug on controversial #RaceTogether campaign following social media backlash
The campaign was mocked on social media (Picture: Getty Images)

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.

MORE: A Starbucks initiative to get staff to discuss race relations with customers has already backfired

File photo dated 13/08/13 of a Starbucks coffee, as the new UK boss Mark Fox has defended the way it is run saying there is "nothing abnormal" about its operations,  which have come under fire over how much tax the company pays. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday December 1, 2014. Chief executive Mark Fox disclosed that the business was two years through a five-year plan to become profitable - which will see it eligible to pay what would be seen as normal levels of tax. See PA story CITY Starbucks. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Starbucks is hiring 10,000 employees from diverse backgrounds to man branches in deprived areas (Picture: PA)

‘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.’

MORE: Starbucks plans to sell beer and wine in the evenings

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22 March 2015 | 10:45 pm – Source:


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