People Are Boycotting Starbucks Amid the Company's Response to a Pro-Palestine Union Post

Melissa Willets - Author

Nov. 9 2023, Published 11:28 a.m. ET

A Starbucks sign outside of a New York City location
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • A union with ties to Starbucks allegedly spoke out in support of Palestine amid the war with Israel.
  • Espresso lovers may not be spending their hard-earned money at the chain following the now-deleted sentiments and the company's response to the union's stance.
  • Other companies like McDonald's and Disney are also in hot water for taking a position in the conflict.
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The morning coffee run ritual may not be the same for some people. There are those who are furious that a union with ties to Starbucks has taken sides in the war between Israel and Palestine, and there are those who are angry with the way Starbucks as a company responded to the union's statements. Full details are ahead, including what other companies' pro-Israel and pro-Palestine supporters are asking consumers to boycott.

Destroyed building along the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on Nov. 9, 2023
Source: Getty Images
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Why are people boycotting Starbucks in 2023?

As the war rages on between Israel and Hamas, and anti-semitic tensions escalate here in the U.S., some Starbucks devotees were horrified to see that Starbucks Workers United, which is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, shared a social media post that expressed support for Palestine amidst the conflict with Israel. The post reportedly read, "Solidarity with Palestine!" but it has since been deleted.

In response, Starbucks filed a complaint against the union. In an Oct. 17 statement, Sara Kelly, EVP and chief partner officer for Starbucks, said in a statement, "We contacted Workers United demanding they 1) immediately stop using our company name, logo and intellectual property, and 2) issue an immediate correction ... They rejected that request. As a result, Starbucks will file litigation against the union in federal court."

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Some Starbucks customers were appalled that the corporation took such a strong stance against the notion of solidarity with the people of Palestine and decided to boycott the company.

At least one barista, who shares content using the handle @ambrose_darling on TikTok, claims that the subsequent boycott has had an effect on sales.

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According to the barista, who shares that she turned in her notice, the Starbucks where she worked has been less crowded and fewer mobile orders are coming in.

A Starbucks manager who works in an airport shared on Twitter that "even we're feeling the protests" and confessed that they have seen half their usual volume of customers. Given the location, the store doesn't usually feel the effects of a boycott.

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McDonald's and Disney are also in hot water over the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Starbucks isn't the only popular brand that people are boycotting in light of recent events.

Franchise owners of McDonald's restaurants in Israel offered free food to Israeli military members, a move that didn't sit well with some consumers.

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Pro-Palestine consumers are similarly calling for a boycott of Disney given the company's support of Israel. One Twitter post calls out not only McDonald's and Disney but a host of other companies that support Israel.

Boycotters are urging people to cancel their Disney Plus subscriptions and not buy tickets to see new movies including The Marvels, which hits theaters on Veterans Day weekend in 2023.

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