Starbucks CEO: If You Support Traditional Marriage, We Don’t Want Your Business-Fiction!

Starbucks CEO: If You Support Traditional Marriage, We Don’t Want Your Business-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the company doesn’t want the business of people who support traditional marriage.
The Truth:
The Starbucks CEO didn’t say the company doesn’t want business from people who support traditional marriage.
That rumor started in 2013 after Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz made a statement at a shareholder meeting about the company’s support of gay marriage, and it’s impact on the company’s profit margins.
Conservative Starbucks investor Tom Strobhar told Schultz that the company’s earnings were “shall we say politely, a bit disappointing” in the first quarter after the National Organization for Marriage announced a boycott of Starbucks over its support of gay marriage.
The Starbucks CEO responded:

Despite the fact that you cite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year. I don’t know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, have returned 38% over the last 12 months. Having said that, it’s not an economic decision. The lens through which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ 200,000 people at this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Respectfully, if you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country; you can sell you shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company.

As the exchange made its way through the grapevine, it was (falsely) reported that the Starbucks CEO had said, “If you support traditional marriage, we don’t want your business.”
Then, in March 2015, the Tea Party News Network breathed new life into the story when it re-reported the exchange as though it had just happened in a story headlined, “Starbucks CEO: If You are Anti-Gay Marriage, ‘You can Sell Your Shares.”
That report is outdated and false. The Starbucks CEO told the investor that he should sell his shares if he could get returns higher than 38% — not because he was “anti-gay marriage.”

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