". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Is Starbucks Pulling Back on LGBT Advocacy?

June 18, 2023

It seems the boycotts against Target and Bud Light are paying off in more ways than one. Other companies, like Starbucks, are responding by reportedly reining in some of their LGBT advocacy displays. However, is this really the case? Or are they simply becoming less boisterous about their support?

Starbucks Workers United, a group that lobbies for the unionizing of Starbucks locations across America, has accused the company’s corporate management of asking their stores to take down Pride decorations. Confusingly, corporate management denied this claim.

Then, executives changed their tune, insisting that any request to move the rainbow colors was due to “safety concerns.” Hanging Pride flags over windows or not having the proper equipment to put them up in the first place are all reasons Starbucks headquarters is using to justify its directive for stores to pare back Pride paraphernalia. Several Starbucks employees who support the LGBT cause have shared videos on social media platforms to make their disappointment known.

Transgender-identifying activist Rose Montoya, the man who created a firestorm by flashing his surgically-created breasts on the White House’s lawn this month, told the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper, “I’ve spoken to a lot of my trans friends and colleagues, and we’ve all noticed less brands seeking partnerships and smaller budgets for Pride campaigns.” He added, “It’s disappointing.” Yet, despite those comments, we continue to see companies pulling back on their in-your-face celebrations.

Even Target made the decision to remove a large portion of its Pride display after a nationwide boycott sent their profits tumbling. A plethora of threats were made against Target from angry LGBT activists who are not used to businesses distancing themselves from their woke agenda.

In Breitbart, Neil Munro wrote, “At Target, the decision to withdraw some pro-transgender items from the stores prompted bomb threats from pro-transgender activists. But those threats are being portrayed by media outlets as coming from ordinary Americans.” Regardless of these companies’ sudden hesitation about Pride displays, their LGBT support continues behind the scenes — and Starbucks is no exception.

What the companies’ response shows is that, while most CEOs may pull back a little bit to stop the financial bleeding, deep down, they’re still trying to appease both sides. With angry shareholders breathing down their necks, executives are desperately trying to recoup their profits by making modest, superficial changes on how they handle their LGBT partnerships. But in the end, all it does is show these brands for the fickle and greedy entities they are.

In response, Suzanne Bowdey, editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand, said, “It will take a lot more than moving around a few Pride displays for consumers to believe that Starbucks, Target, or any of these woke companies are interested in meaningful change. What it does say is that the decision of Americans to shop elsewhere is finally hurting enough for CEOs to respond.” Companies starting to pull back — even slightly — on their LGBT enthusiasm might not mean they are going to stop supporting the cause, but it does prove the impact boycotts and consumer activism can have.

Bowdey concluded, “When corporations start apologizing or backing away from their LGBT donations and partnerships, that’s when we’ll know they’re sincere. Until then, this is just window dressing from hard-up businesses trying to straddle both sides of the fence. Christians and conservatives should keep up the pressure. At least for now, it’s making these big brands think twice.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.