Starbucks has halted its campaign to mix discussions of racism with its coffee after the initiative met with skepticism and sarcastic put-downs.
In an open letter saying the “Race Together” campaign was ended Sunday, CEO Howard Schultz summed up the effort as “always just the catalyst for a much broader and longer-term conversation.”
Schultz last week had baristas serve coffee in cups bearing “Race Together” slogan to open the discussions, saying the United States needs a “new level of sensitivity, understanding around these issues.”
Instead, the company’s senior vice president of global communications Corey duBrowa said he was inundated with such a “cascade of negativity” that he temporarily shut down his Twitter account last week.
Many saw the initiative as a publicity stunt, and found irony in low-paid servers moderating a national debate on race.
But Schultz said he hasn’t given up on the idea, insisting the initiative was “far from over.”
“We have a number of planned Race Together activities in the weeks and months to come,” he said.
Starbucks halts race campaign amid ‘cascade of negativity’