Starbucks reverses stance, will allow employees to wear clothes supporting Black Lives Matter

Starbucks on Friday reversed its stance barring employees from wearing clothing that supports the Black Lives Matter movement.

"We see you. We hear you. Black Lives Matter. That is a fact and will never change," Starbucks said in a statement.

The coffee chain giant made its initial stance against wearing Black Lives Matters shirts and pins known to employees in a memo earlier in the week.

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The memo informed employees that apparel supporting the BLM movement violated the company's policy against accessories that "advocated a political, religious or personal issue."

Pushback against the memo was immediate.

"Starbucks LGBTQ+ partners wear LGBTQ+ pins and shirts, that also could incite and create violent experiences amongst partners and customers," one black transgender employee of the coffee chain told BuzzFeed News. “We have partners who experienced harassment and transphobia/homophobia for wearing their pins and shirts, and Starbucks still stands behind them."

Starbucks also said in in its statement Friday that it had designed a special Black Lives Matter T-shirt for their employees to wear. Starbucks tweeted a mock-up of the shirt Friday, saying that its Black Partner Network had helped design the graphic.

Each of Starbucks's employees will receive a T-shirt, the company said. 

 

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“Until these arrive, we’ve heard you want to show your support, so just be you. Wear your BLM pin or t-shirt,” Starbucks also said. “We are so proud of your passionate support of our common humanity. We trust you to do what’s right while never forgetting Starbucks is a welcoming third place where all are treated with dignity and respect.”

The Black Lives Matter movement has regained national prominence in recent weeks following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

-- Updated at 11:56 a.m.