(Asbarez) – While ordering their morning drinks on Wednesday, many Starbucks customers were shocked to see posters depicting women wearing Armenian traditional costumes under the Turkish Crescent and Star.
After inquiries from Asbarez, a spokesperson said that Starbucks has already begun the removal of the offensive posters and apologized for upsetting their customers.
“Serving as a place for the community to connect is core to our business and we strive to be locally relevant in all of our stores. We missed the mark here and we apologize for upsetting our customers and the community. We have removed this art in our Mulholland & Calabasas store in Woodland Hills and are working to make this right,” a Starbucks spokesperson told Asbarez via email. The spokesperson said that the company was “looking into this to ensure this image is not in any other Starbucks locations.”
Starbucks did not comment about what prompted the company to display the posters.
The swift response to this matter can also be attributed to a wave of protests on social media from Armenians who were insulted and taken aback by what appeared to be lack of sensitivity from Starbucks, a company that prides itself on social justice and social issues. The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region immediately launched a social media campaign urging followers to document locations and call Starbucks to complain with #BoycottStarbucks message.
Starbucks was facing a “Venti” debacle, when angry posts began to circulate on Facebook and Twitter, some calling for a boycott of the largest coffee retailer in the world. This was yet another sign of collective grassroots activism on the part of the Armenian community.
In addressing the issue with Starbucks, Asbarez pointed to many actions by the Turkish government that were in stark contrast to the company’s standards of ethics.
“Why would Starbucks promote a country that in the last year was deemed as the largest jailer of journalists; has shut down Twitter and YouTube in its campaign to oppress freedom of speech; has jailed demonstrators for reform; whose president has called for legislation to categorize women as second class citizens; and continues to deny the Armenian Genocide, which killed more than 1.5 million people in 1915 among other things, which include calling Israel a terrorist state,” Asbarez inquired from Starbucks corporate communications.