A memo was sent out to Starbucks employees last week warning anyone against wearing anything in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The memo, obtained by BuzzFeed News, told employees that it is prohibited under the company’s policy against accessories that “advocated a political, religious or personal issue.”
However, employees told the news outlet that the company allows staff to wear pins in support of LGBTQ equality, especially during Pride Month every June.
“Starbucks LGBTQ+ partners wear LGBTQ+ pins and shirts, that also could incite and create violent experiences amongst partners and customers,” one employee of Starbucks told BuzzFeed. “We have partners who experienced harassment and transphobia/homophobia for wearing their pins and shirts, and Starbucks still stands behind them.”
A video from a top company executive reportedly sent with the memo warned employees that “agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles” of the movement could seek to “amplify divisiveness” if the messages are displayed in stores.
“We know your intent is genuine and understand how personal this is for so many of us. This is important and we hear you,” the memo read.
Over the last few weeks, protests have broke out all around the country over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many people and companies have stepped up to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.