When Starbucks announced last year that the company supported the legalization of same-sex marriage in its mother state of Washington, opponents of the measure were less than pleased. The National Organization for Marriage launched a boycott of Starbucks, pledging to hit the company where it hurt — in its pocket. But CEO Howard Schultz says he didn’t give a toot about sales when it comes down to it.
At Wednesday’s annual company meeting, one shareholder floated the idea that the boycott had done some damage, reports NPR.
“In the first fill quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” the shareholder said.
Schultz reportedly replied that backing marriage equality isn’t about the bottom line, but instead was about respecting diversity. And besides, the company had a healthy return last year in any case.
“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much,” he said to applause.
We’re unsure if there were any baristas in the audience, but that shareholder definitely got served.