The Biggest Scandals To Ever Hit Starbucks

The Biggest Scandals To Ever Hit Starbucks


They may be all about delicious coffee-flavored
treats and smiling baristas, but Starbucks has had their fair share of PR disasters. From those still fresh in your mind, to the
ones you totally forgot about, here are some of the biggest scandals to ever hit Starbucks. “Starbucks doesn’t fill its cups up enough.” In 2016, Starbucks was sued by two Californians,
who claimed the chain underfilled lattes by 25 percent in order to cut costs. According to the New York Daily News, the
lawsuit stated, “By underfilling its lattes, thereby shortchanging
its customers, Starbucks has saved countless millions of dollars in the cost of goods sold
and was unjustly enriched by taking payments for more product than it delivers.” The lawsuit also claimed the company had a
quote “systematic conspiracy” to make sure the steamed milk never reached the correct
fill line. Starbucks released a statement to Eater saying
they fully believed the lawsuit was “without merit.” In the end, CNBC reported the lawsuit was
dismissed. At the same time, the company was also dealing
with two other lawsuits for using too much ice. One suit, filed by a Chicago resident, claimed
that Starbucks instructed baristas to fill iced beverages with much more ice than liquid
in an attempt to make money. “The woman filing the suit claims that a 24
oz venti, the customer receives 14 oz of coffee and 10 oz of ice.” The New York Daily News reported that the
class-action lawsuit sought $5 million, but the lawsuit was dismissed. At the same time, a Los Angeles resident sued
the company for underfilling cups, saying that even without ice, there wasn’t enough
liquid in an iced drink. A few months later, the Washington Post reported
that the case was dismissed, with a U.S. District Judge saying, “When a reasonable consumer walks into a Starbucks
and orders a Grande iced tea, that consumer knows the size of the cup that drink will
be served in and that a portion of the drink will consist of ice. Because no reasonable consumer could be confused
by this…” “Peppermint mochas for Lia?” Starbucks is known for two things each winter:
extra sugary seasonal drinks and cups that celebrate the Christmas spirit. But in 2015, the company took a non-denominational
stance when they debuted simple red cups. Vice president Jeffrey Fields said in a statement, “In the past, we have told stories with our
holiday cups designs. This year we wanted to usher in the holidays
with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.” But some customers weren’t having it. Joshua Feuerstein shared a Facebook video
where he said “political correctness” had prompted Starbucks to do the unthinkable. “Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take
Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups? That’s why they’re just plain red.” He then started a sort of “movement” where
supporters would go into Starbucks and say their name was “Merry Christmas,” so that
employees would be forced to write that on the cups. The video went viral, with Feuerstein telling
CNN, “I think Starbucks has gotten the message
that the Christian majority in this country has awakened and are demanding that our voice
be heard.” Backlash ensued, with some backing Feuerstein
and others defending Starbucks. Even then-presidential candidate Donald Trump
weighed in on the issue, saying, “I have one of the most successful Starbucks,
in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care.” He then added, “If I become president, we’re all going to
be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.” In 2016, Starbucks released their “Green Unity
Cup,” meant to join people together before the 2016 election. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said in a statement, “The green cup and the design represent the
connections Starbucks has as a community with its partners [employees] and customers. During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks
wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values and the need to be good
to each other.” “It’s green and has a picture of people drawn
with one continuous line. Because what says Starbucks more than a line
that goes on forever.” But of course there was backlash. According to NBC News, some Twitter users
threatened to boycott the company for “liberal bias,” while others said they only wanted
coffee from the chain, not political commentary. Other customers were just unhappy that, once
again, the cup didn’t have a Christmas-theme. The cup controversy didn’t stop in 2016. The following year, a holiday-inspired design
still incited backlash after Buzzfeed News reported the design was quote, “totally gay.” “Take a look at it. It looks nice. It’s hard to spot. You really have to look for it.” The outlet claimed that many social media
users felt that the design portrayed the clasped hands of two women. Starbucks didn’t confirm or deny the suspicions,
but released a statement saying, “Each year during the holidays we aim to bring
our customers an experience that inspires the spirit of the season, and we will continue
to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around
the world.” The New York Times reported that many customers
were furious that the hand holding might be between a gay or lesbian couple. Conservative site The Blaze wrote about how
the company was being celebrated for pushing a quote, “gay agenda.” “Even if they were lesbians, is that a big
deal?” Overall, it was just another Starbucks holiday
cup controversy. In 2017, Schultz released an official statement
announcing that Starbucks would be hiring refugees, after Trump issued an executive
order that banned people from several Muslim countries from entering the United States. Schultz said, “We have a long history of hiring young people
looking for opportunities and a pathway to a new life around the world… There are more than 65 million citizens of
the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire
10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.” The decision quickly resulted in a lot of
social media backlash. Fortune reported that the hashtag “Boycott
Starbucks” was the highest trending topic on Twitter the morning after the announcement
was made. Some Twitter users were furious by the company’s
decision, while others promised to continue spending their money on Starbucks coffee. “This is my dress for the pageant, my aunt
and my mom made it, represents the Pumpkin Spice Latte. My left glove is for the coffee and my right
is for the foam.” If there’s one thing Starbucks is famous for,
it’s the Pumpkin Spice Latte. And at first, it seemed that the cult-favorite
could do no wrong. “Put a little cinnamon in there, put a little
nutmeg in too, it’s a pumpkin-y swirl onto a beautiful, beautiful beverage.” But in 2015, controversial food blogger Vani
Hari, also known as Food Babe, revealed there was no actual pumpkin in the drink. Hari, instead, listed many of the other, unhealthy,
ingredients. The post went viral, even prompting a response
from Starbucks. According to Fortune, director Peter Dukes
announced that there would be some changes, including the addition of real pumpkin and
the removal of caramel coloring. “If you thought the Pumpkin Spice Latte might
be the natural enemy of the Starbucks barista, you’d be wrong, ’cause ladies and gentlemen
this is it right here.” In 2017, Starbucks got tons of attention for
their limited-edition, Instagram-worthy Unicorn Frappuccino. But, unfortunately, its dazzling colors led
to a lawsuit. In May of that year, the New York Post reported
that the parent company of the cafe The End Brooklyn sued Starbucks in a $10 million trademark
infringement lawsuit, saying that The End customers assumed they were getting a “knockoff”
of the Starbucks drink, when theirs was actually out first. The End launched their “Unicorn Latte” in
December 2016. And they even applied to trademark the name
on January 20th. Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges said, via
Business Insider, “We know about the claims and we believe they
are without merit. The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino blended
beverage was inspired by the fun, spirited, and colorful unicorn-themed food and drinks
that have been trending in social media.” The lawsuit was then settled out of court. In 2015, Starbucks endured one of their most
epic fails ever: the Race Together campaign. It was a week-long effort to get their employees
and customers to talk about race. In a statement, Schultz asked partners to
write “#RaceTogether” on cups to start a conversation, saying, “We at Starbucks should be willing to talk
about these issues in America. Not to point fingers or to place blame and
not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are.” “I have to believe that Starbucks expected
some sort of backlash here, but it seems like it maybe caught them a little bit off-guard.” Starbucks may have meant well, but the campaign
didn’t go as planned. “Not sure what Starbucks was thinking, I don’t
have time to explain 400 years of oppression to you and still make my train.” According to Fast Company, Race Together earned
2.5 billion social media impressions in less than 48 hours, mainly full of backlash against
the campaign, which was called superficial, tone-deaf and insensitive, among other things. Business Insider would later call it Starbucks’
quote, “most embarrassing moment in history.” In 2018, Starbucks joined the conversation
about being environmentally conscious when they announced that they would be getting
rid of plastic straws, saying they would instead use “strawless” plastic lids. The company said in a statement, “Starbucks is announcing today that it will
phase out plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020, a decision
that will eliminate more than 1 billion straws a year.” Many customers applauded the company’s efforts,
but not everyone was thrilled with the decision, especially the disabled. A policy analyst at the Center for Disability
Rights, told TIME, “Plastic straws are an accessible way for
people with certain disabilities to consume food and drinks, and it seems the blanket
bans are not taking into account… that plastic straw replacements are not accessible to people.” In 2016, Starbucks stirred up even more political
controversy, when Trump supporters started saying their name was “Trump” in order to
get the baristas to yell the name out when the drink was ready. The whole thing was started by Tim Treadstone,
who told the Washington Post that he launched the campaign after he saw a video where a
Starbucks employee refused to write Trump’s name on a cup. Treadstone said, “We have a culture war to win. I’m a Trump supporter… Obviously, a lot of people aren’t happy with
us, and we need to stand up for our freedom and our First Amendment.” #TrumpCup got so big that Starbucks was forced
to respond. In a statement, the company said they write
the customer’s names for “fun,” adding, “Rarely has it been abused or taken advantage
of. We hope and trust that our customers will
continue to honor that tradition. We don’t require our [employees] to write
or call out names.” “What did they get called for, ’cause they’re
two black guys sitting here meeting me?” Probably the biggest scandal to plague the
company happened in 2018, when two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks were arrested
for not making a purchase. The eight-minute YouTube video of the incident
quickly went viral, showing the officers arresting the men on suspicion of trespassing. “These officers did absolutely nothing wrong. They followed policy, they did what they were
supposed to do.” The arrests caused immediate backlash and
cries of racism, along with boycotts and protests against the corporation. It also prompted a public apology from Schultz,
who said, “I’m embarrassed, ashamed. I think what occurred was reprehensible at
every single level.” Starbucks released an official statement apologizing
to the men who had been arrested, saying, “Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination
or racial profiling.” A few weeks after the arrest, Starbucks announced
that they were planning to close more than 8,000 U.S. stores for several hours on May
29th, 2018, in order to conduct racial-bias training for employees. “I think we’re trying to do everything that
we possibly can to create the environment that we believe is important to our brand.” But even this attempt to make things right
didn’t sit well with everyone. Some felt that it wasn’t the right approach
to the issue, while many customers were simply annoyed that their store would be temporarily
closed. In the end, not all employees were impressed
either. Starbucks employee, Mohamed Abdi, told TIME
that he wanted to participate in discussion with coworkers rather than just watching a
video. One African-American employee named Jason
said, “Helpful?… It kinda reaffirms things that I know already.” A Mexican employee named Alicia told the publication, “They told us we need to be ‘color brave’
instead of color blind… Me and my coworkers of color felt uncomfortable
the entire time.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
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100 Comments

  1. You know the strawless one? Yeah when ever I go to Starbucks, people walkin around smug with straws in it. Defeated the whole purpose, not saying straws are horrible but, nice try Starbucks.

  2. Everyone knows there is no pumpkin in a PSL it’s spices. The same spices you would put with Pumpkin to make it a dessert 😤🙄

  3. Why can’t people just grow the frig up like it’s a red cup omg I don’t here people complaining about red solo cups

  4. Starbucks : arrests 2 black men because they were actually wrong…. (they would do the same with any race)
    They were Damned
    Also Starbucks : makes a hashtag against racism…
    Also damned
    Why petty people of the earth… Why

  5. All the people who filed the lawsuits are definitely named karen😂
    Edit: it’s a cup wtf is wrong with our world😂 Some people would be happy to just have that drink.
    Edit 2: why the fuck are people mad about Starbucks hiring refugees.

  6. two guy entered a store, ordered and didn't pay, get arrested and cried out for racism. You have got to love America

  7. Do people-
    I cant with people anymore i like the "gay" cup its pretty and nice. I say it sends a good message out during christmas<3

    I fucking hate some christans (cant spell) some are fucking insane and get angry about anything even a FUCKING CUP

  8. The whole Christmas cup is just ridiculous, not everyone celebrates Christmas🤷🏻‍♀️get a life people stop fighting over cups! Fight for something actually worth fighting for!

  9. I’ve never been to Starbucks nor have I ever spent a penny there. I am addicted to caffeine I just get it somewhere else.

  10. And that’s why we’re all fucked people are worried about cups and not paying attention to the bigger picture it’s freaking cups lmao

  11. So this video is telling me that people have lawsuits over a Starbucks cup?!?! This is how you know we have all lost our minds!😬🙄

  12. People are dying, hunger is happening, we all have our problems, we are focusing on a cup and a drink. Be thankful you are actually able to access a Starbucks while others cant.

  13. Are people really getting upset that their cup doesn’t look Christmasy…….I can’t with this world anymore🙄🙄🤦‍♀️

  14. If you make pumpkin pie with the canned inside stuff it most likely doesn't have pumpkin in it so I'm guessing there's a reason for it and why Starbucks didn't add it.

  15. im a starbucks barista and the whole not filling the cups enough just doesn't make sense. Everything is critically measured in Starbucks to ensure that there is enough (and sometimes more than enough) to go into your cup. Milk for lattes are measured as well depending on which size and everything goes in until it fills up the cup. If it does so happen that it doesn't fill to the top, it's often due to a barista's carelessness for assuming the wrong size, hence not steaming enough milk.

    Same goes for ice, each size has it's dedicated ice scoop and even then, we have a specific line on the cup to follow and gauge until where the drink should be and where the ice goes. Besides, it is free to request for less/more and even no ice if it's really that big of a deal to you (hell, we even get requests as weird as "i want just 4 ice cubes – just 4").

  16. Maybe they weren’t involving Christmas to respect the other religions and cultures that don’t celebrate it? Wake tf up you dumbass idiots

  17. why the fuck am i watching this retarded shit rn?? there are literally people dying from hunger and thrust around the world, and these retards are mad about a red cup are you fucking kidding me lmao smh, the human race is a disappointment to the creatures of this planet. Americans are truly stupid.

  18. this dude @10:12 is a known white supremacist lol why is he in the video?? search baked alaska is a white supremacist.

  19. Can we talk about how almost every single controversy has been absolutely stupid and pointless? Drama for the sake of drama.

  20. Such stupid controversies ! You are getting your drink ! Shut up and leave the store after getting what you ordered ! 🙄

  21. Stupid! This entire story is ignorant, obviously these idiots need something better to do, what a waste of time people seriously making cup design have such an impact on their lives are clearly losers if you ask me!
    Really ? Law suits over friggin cups and coffees and ice ?? Out of control !!!

  22. I worked for Starbucks for 6 years and we feed homeless for free and there was never any way we didn't fill the cup with a full serving

  23. “Right sided is completely reasonable” at the same time boycotting Starbucks for supporting gay rights and not sided with one religion smh sounds like the conservatives= unreasonable

  24. no offense to you, but I want to Actually hear about what happens "in the backroom" of REAL starbucks Coffee. like are they just sitting there, or are they working? and Are Baristas "fooling around" in the back where customers can't see it but other co workers can. i'm not asking you or anyone posting this video for a Personal favor at all, but you posted this video for views so in short tell us the truth wether baristas's ARE or ARE NOT having relationships (pyshically) in the back room , away from prying eyes first time follower, long time watcher.

  25. I honestly think the red holiday cup idea was really cute and I love that people were decorating them. I think they should bring it back and encourage people to make art with them

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