Starbucks ‘deeply concerned’ by spread of ‘false’ claims the company is removing Pride flags from stores


Starbucks blasted recent “false” claims alleging that the global coffee company ordered stores across the United States to remove LGBTQ Pride flags on display under threat of conservative backlash.

After a Twitter account for a Starbucks employee union tweeted Tuesday that Starbucks decided to ban Pride Month decorations in many of its U.S. stores, the company denied the claim in a statement provided to Fox News Digital.

The company called the claim “false information,” said it was “deeply concerned” by the spread of the false allegations and re-pledged its commitment to the LGBTQ community.

The claim that Starbucks was removing pride items from stores came from the “Starbucks Workers United” Twitter account. The account, run by the union of the same name, announced, “BREAKING: In the middle of Pride Month, Starbucks BANS Pride decorations in stores across the United States.”

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Starbucks Coffee is squashing claims that the company is making stores remove Pride flags and other decorations. (Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The union account followed the announcement with a lengthy Twitter thread detailing the situation. “For the last two weeks, Starbucks workers have taken to social media to report that the company is no longer allowing Pride decorations in-store. This seems to be the first year the publicly ‘pro-LGBTQ+’ company has taken this kind of stance,” it continued.

A subsequent post cited conservative backlash against pro-LGBTQ Target products as part of the motivation for the decision, stating, “Taking a cue from Target, who bowed to anti-LGBTQ+ pressure and removed pride merchandise, corporate and district management are taking down the pride decorations that have become an annual tradition in stores.”

The union then blasted the company’s management, stating, “Starbucks is powered by many queer workers, but management has failed to materially support the LGBTQ+ community. Last October, some workers have reported that their transgender benefit plan changed, causing them to pay out of pocket fees and lose access to certain providers.” 

It also claimed, “If Starbucks was a true ally, they would stand up for us, especially during a time when LGBTQ+ people are under attack. A company that cares wouldn’t turn their back on the LGBTQ+ community to protect their already astronomically high profits.”

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Starbucks cups

A Starbucks spokesman commented on reports the company was removing Pride decorations from stores, saying, “We’re deeply concerned by false information that is being spread especially as it relates to our inclusive store environments, our company culture, and the benefits we offer our partners. “ (Reuters)

The account concluded, “True allyship with the LGBTQ+ community is negotiating a union contract that legally locks-in our benefits, our freedom of expression, and ways to hold management accountable.”

Starbucks responded with a forceful denial of the union’s allegations. In its statement to Fox News, the coffee company said, “We unwaveringly support the LGBTQIA2+ community. There has been no change to any policy on this matter and we continue to encourage our store leaders to celebrate with their communities including for U.S. Pride month in June.” 

It continued, “For Starbucks, U.S. Pride Month in June is just one of the moments we support and celebrate our LGBTQIA2+ partners and the community, and it’s our own partners who inform the commitments and actions we have continued to take for more than four decades.”

The company also noted its concern that the story was gaining traction, as the claim had been reported by several other outlets since the union’s original tweet. 

Workers' union sign

The Starbucks Workers Unite union claimed that the Starbucks company was ordering store to put away Pride flags and other LGBTQ-themed decor. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago)

Starbucks said, “We’re deeply concerned by false information that is being spread especially as it relates to our inclusive store environments, our company culture, and the benefits we offer our partners. Starbucks has a history that includes more than four decades of recognizing and celebrating our diverse partners and customers – including year-round support for the LGBTQIA2+ community.”

Still, Starbucks Workers United insisted its claims were true in subsequent tweets, stating, “Starbucks Corporate is denying any change to their policies on Pride this year – but if that were true, why are there countless stories where workers are claiming the opposite?” The account went on to post stories from social media.

By Tuesday evening, the union’s original allegation received had a Twitter “Community Notes” fact check, which said, “Starbucks has denied the union’s accusation of banning Pride decorations.” 

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Fox News Digital reached out to Starbucks Workers United about the coffee company’s denial, though the union has yet to respond. 



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