After a woman’s story about a Starbucks worker she allegedly saw getting forced to hand in his keys while being told by a shift supervisor his co-workers didn’t want to hear about him being gay anymore went viral, the coffee giant has pledged to investigate.
Her partner posted on her blog the letter to Starbucks corporate the woman penned. In it, she describes visiting a Starbucks and overhearing several employees and a manager discussing with a gay male employee how hearing about his life as a gay man was negatively affecting the other people in the store.
The witness wrote:
She told him that they were not interested in his politics or beliefs and his thoughts were down right offensive to his co-workers. They did not want to hear about his personal life. …Jeffrey pointed out that they ALL talked about their personal lives (during the course of the conversation I learned that the manager had a daughter that went to tennis camp and another one of the women had a birthday coming up…) She went on, an on and on talking about leadership building workshops where she learned to “Keep it to herself”
After the worker left to cry in the bathroom, the woman wrote that the conversation got even more vicious:
“I’m done. I’m done. Nobody wants to hear it anymore. I don’t care who he is dating. I don’t want to hear about it.”
“He should not get upset at the things people say to him. He should be used to it. It’s not like he turned gay yesterday.”
“I used to listen to it, now I’m just sick of hearing about it.”
“Nobody does, but it’s over now. You won’t have to hear about it anymore.”
The woman says that when the employee returned the manager asked him for his keys and he left the store.
The story has spread online, with customers leaving angry comments on Starbucks Facebook wall. It even got back to the original employee from the story.
He told KIROTV he was grateful for his story getting out there and for the support strangers were showing him, writing that the original blog’s author, “consoled me outside of the Starbucks… just as she described. I walked away from her not knowing who she was or if I would ever see her again. Approximately 24 hours went by when a friend of mine forwarded a link to me on Facebook to say a blog had been posted about me. I read the letter and after reading all the facts came to realize the reason I was no longer welcome for employment at Starbucks.”
“All of you who have supported our cause to stand united in the LGBT community have made this possible!” he added. “I continue expressing my appreciation for her and all of your standing up for our right to be treated respectfully and fairly in our work environments. A promise we hold our employers to daily”
In response to the blog post, Starbucks said, “We are disheartened by the allegations reported in an East Coast Starbucks store and are taking immediate measures to investigate and take any steps necessary to make this right. The actions reported do not correspond with our values, who we are as a company or the beliefs we try to instill in our partners.”
Without knowing more about the exact substance of the comments the employee allegedly made to his other workers that made them uncomfortable, it’s hard to pass decisive judgement. But at least from a social media/PR crisis control perspective, the story certainly isn’t a good way for Starbucks to start Gay Pride month.
I Know Starbucks is Not an Anti-Gay, Homophobic Company (by Policy)…. BUT… [Lil Family Blog]
Starbucks Update… Part 1 [Lil Family Blog]
Starbucks – Update 2 – A Letter from Jeffrey [Lil Family Blog]
Lil Family Blog Facebook Wall [Facebook]
Our Dedication to Embrace Diversity [Starbucks]
Starbucks Facebook Wall [Facebook]
Starbucks Reacts To Account Of ‘Attack’ On Gay Employee [KIROTV]
(Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)