NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Starbucks on Friday said it would allow baristas to wear “Black Lives Matter” shirts and accessories, amid growing backlash over an internal bulletin that said letting employees do so would violate company policy.
In a letter posted to Starbucks’ social media accounts on Friday, three executives said the company was reversing course on its decision to ban employees from wearing apparel supporting the movement.
The company is designing its own “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts “to demonstrate our allyship and show we stand together in unity,” the letter said.
“Until these arrive, we’ve heard you want to show your support, so just be you,” the executives wrote. “Wear your BLM pin or t-shirt.”
In a series of tweets, Starbucks said its employees “told us that they need a way to express themselves at work and we heard them.”
“The movement is a catalyst for change, and right now, it’s telling us many things need to be addressed,” the company said. “Our partners (employees) may express their unity with the Black community by wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts and pins.”
Store managers who reached out to Starbucks leadership last week asking if employees could wear Black Lives Matter-related attire received a memo that said “clothing and accessories highlighting Black Lives Matter do not currently adhere to policy,” BuzzFeed News reported.
The memo linked employees to a video featuring Starbucks’ vice president of inclusion and diversity, Zing Shaw.
In the video, Shaw “explains there are agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles of the Black Lives Matter movement — and in certain circumstances, intentionally re-purpose them to amplify divisiveness,” the memo said.