Why Mixed Messages Mean Bad PR for Starbucks?

So if you’ve seen the recent Starbucks #whatsyourname Ad Campaign you probably know its a huge step in the right direction for Trans Rights. The campaign depicts a Trans male being able to choose his own name at the Starbucks counter when ordering a drink despite being upset at being called his birth name on other occasions. Watch the ad here:

When I saw the advert I thought this is amazing, what a positive and inclusive message for a huge company to be promoting. A massive win for advertising inclusivity in the LGBTQ+ community, something a lot of my research focuses on.

But then I was shocked to read that although Starbucks is promoting Trans inclusivity on a national scale they don’t have the same rules for their own employees. Former Starbucks employee Maddie Wade has spoken out against the company who she previously sued for misgendering and discriminating against her as a transgender woman.

Wade’s attorney, Arnold Peter, issued a statement calling the ad “a cruel slap in the face to their own employees who have faced hateful and derogatory discrimination in the workplace. The company’s attempt at marketing their position on inclusion and gender equality is both phony and hypocritical to their own employees who have faced discrimination while working in their stores.”

Other past employees have spoken out about their struggle to get gender reassignment surgeries covered. Many people joined the company after it announced it would be expanding its’ health insurance plan to cover top surgery and facial feminisation but this surgery was not obtained by employees.

Other employees have spoken out about not being able to use their chosen name within the company without first obtaining a legal name change, often a lengthy and costly process.

My take on this, maybe have a look at your internal affairs and what you can do for your employees who commit to building your business everyday before you try and cash in on the pink pound by releasing a hypocritical ad campaign.

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