News (USA)

Lauren Boebert spreads claim that Starbucks banned Pride decorations. Starbucks says it didn’t

Rep. Lauren Boebert
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) Photo: Screenshot

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has spread a right-wing claim that Starbucks forced employees to take down Pride decorations. A Starbucks spokesperson denied the allegation and said the company encourages stores to celebrate Pride Month.

On Tuesday afternoon, Boebert re-tweeted the following message from Charlie Kirk, leader of the rabidly anti-LGBTQ+ conservative group Turning Point USA: “Starbucks has banned Pride decorations in its stores halfway through Pride Month, the company’s workers union has revealed. Leftwing Trans activists claim this means Starbucks is ‘caving.’ Good! Keep the pressure on, folks.”

Kirk based his claim on a June 13 tweet from Starbucks Workers United (SWU), a group that seeks to unionize Starbucks employees. SWU said that workers had complained that the “company is no longer allowing Pride decorations in-store.”

Starbucks says none of this is true.

In a statement to LGBTQ Nation, the company wrote, “We’re deeply concerned by false information that is being spread especially as it relates to our inclusive store environments [and] our company culture.”

“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,” the company added. “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.”

As prominent anti-LGBTQ+ figures, Boebert and Kirk have sought to further a narrative that “woke” companies are caving to right-wing pressure to withdraw their support for the LGBTQ+ community. They and other right-wing conservatives have claimed victory over Bud Light and Target after both companies backed off of their own LGBTQ+-inclusive marketing campaigns. Right-wingers have admitted that their goal is to make support for the LGBTQ+ community “toxic” to brands.

In the past, Kirk has attacked transgender people and described opposition to religious exemptions as “fascism.” Boebert regularly stokes anti-LGBTQ+ hatred. She is the third most responsible person driving anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech on Twitter. Among her many bigoted statements, Boebert has accused LGBTQ+ people of “spitting in God’s face,” “butchering” children and “perverting” the nation.

Starbucks has a perfect 100 out of 100 rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, a measure of a company’s pro-LGBTQ+ workplace policies. 

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