Starbucks halts race campaign amid ‘cascade of negativity’

Starbucks Corp Chief Executive Howard Schultz, pictured with images from the company's new "Race Together" project behind him, speaks during the company's annual shareholder's meeting in Seattle, Washington March 18, 2015. (Reuters)

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.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:55 - GMT 10:55