Starbucks sent employees guidance on Howard Schultz's political plans

Starbucks sent employees guidance on Howard Schultz's political plans
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Starbucks sent a memo to staff this week with directions on handling questions from customers about former CEO Howard Schultz’s possible presidential bid.

In its weekly “Barista Need-To-Know” memo, the company told employees they should evade questions about Schultz’ “political intentions” and “diffuse” attempts to share political opinions.

According to the report, employees are directed to tell customers who ask about Schultz's political intentions, "Howard’s future plans are up to him."

The memo was first reported by Huffpost. A Starbucks spokesperson confirmed its contents to The Hill.

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The spokesperson said the memo was meant to provide employees with ways to deal with potentially tense situations. Employees will not be penalized for sharing their views as long as they do so in a respectful way, the spokesperson added.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson sent a similar message to employees Monday.

“Many of us will inevitably be asked if the company supports a possible presidential candidacy of Howard and what changes for Starbucks,” he wrote. “As a company, we don’t get involved in national political campaigns. And nothing changes for Starbucks. “

Schultz announced that he was “seriously considering” running for president as a “centrist independent” on Sunday.

His announcement drew some criticism, particularly from Democrats, who fear he will take away Democratic votes and hand a victory to President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE.

“Don’t help elect Trump, you egotistical billionaire asshole!” a heckler shouted at Schultz during a promotional event following the announcement.

Trump, responding to the announcement, tweeted that "Schultz doesn’t have the 'guts' to run for President!"

Schultz stepped down as CEO in April 2017 and left the company's executive chairman position over the summer.

-Updated 5:35 p.m.