Coffee lovers call to boycott Starbucks over Israel-Hamas war
By Bella Coco, Staff Writer
With the recent events concerning Israel and Palestine, individuals across the globe have found themselves taking sides in the war.
Starbucks Workers United, a worker-led unionized effort, shared a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, in support of Palestine that read “Solidarity with Palestine!”. The post has since been deleted.
Starbucks criticized the post made by the union and filed a complaint. Sara Kelley, Starbucks’ executive vice president and chief partner officer, put out a statement on Oct. 17.
“As a leadership team, we want to again express our deepest sympathy for those who have been killed, wounded, displaced and impacted following the heinous acts of terror, escalating violence and hate against the innocent in Israel and Gaza this week,” Kelley said. “Starbucks unequivocally condemns acts of hate, terrorism and violence.”
In addition, Kelley stated that Starbucks contacted the union and demanded that they provide a correction to the post and stop using the company’s intellectual property as well as the name and logo. Kelley added that Starbucks’ request was rejected by Workers United, and in response, “Starbucks will file litigation against the union in federal court.”
Stop Starbucks: Support local
As a result of Starbucks’ actions concerning Workers United and their stance, numerous people on social media have announced that they will be boycotting Starbucks indefinitely.
A majority of the boycotters are influencers on TikTok, who have spoken out about the controversy and offered homemade recipes to substitute popular Starbucks beverages.
Omayazein, a TikToker with 2.2 million followers, made a post on Nov. 7 showing her enjoying a seemingly locally made coffee.
“You know what that tastes like? Like a company that doesn’t support genocide,” Omayazein said in the video.
Alternatively, multiple TikTok users have also made videos about the difficulty of giving up their favorite coffee shop or their indifference to the controversy.
In Muslim countries, the boycott has taken to a whole new level with empty branches in Turkey and Qatar. Baristas have taken to social media as well to voice their observations on customer attendance. Some have noticed no difference, while some are claiming one-third of customers are no longer coming to buy their specialty holiday drinks.
Impact in Calgary
A Calgary barista, who has chosen to remain anonymous, stated that they have noticed a difference in customers at their local Starbucks.
“The lines are still kind of chaotic, but I’ve noticed less people during rushes. But I’ve seen more effects on other Starbucks on social media,” they say.
Some students at MRU were completely unaware of the boycott itself, while some are unsure on how to proceed with social media pressure. Most influencers have seemed to enact a “tell don’t ask” policy, leaving students unsure where to start with the boycott or education on the war.
Most agreed that they weren’t aware of the boycott, but those who were admitted to discovering it through social media. However, most are afraid to speak up or publicly state their opinions due to the backlash of speaking out on either side of the war.
A bold few stated that they planned to take part in the boycott, but according to one student, “It has been difficult giving up a business that is a part of my day-to-day life.”