Tuesday, June 28, 2011

STARBUCKS UPDATE: Part 3. Inaction and Broken Promises

It's been two weeks since Missy and my blog post that turned our world upside down.  So much happened so quickly in that first week.  More than we ever imagined.  But then sadly, in the second week, nothing happened.  Starbucks was very quick to come out with a public statement declaring their policy towards diversity.  But we are sad to report, it seems to be nothing more than words.


We never expected the original message to reach AS many people as it did, and I was overwhelmed at the outpour of support and love.  In addition to the public comments, Missy and I both received a few hundred personal emails and messages of people's gratitude and personal stories.  I tried to write back to every one I received, because everyone's personal experience with homophobia and/or bullying is just as important.  Because of the public attention this received, we CAN make this about more than one person.  We can help many people; we can make a statement.


So, here's a call for action.  If you too are outraged by the situation and you want to both send a message and make a difference... read on.  Missy has written a personal letter and account with what happened since and I am going to post it here, but at the bottom of the page, I'll write the specific details of our plea for help.


Thanks again to everyone who cared enough to read, forward, comment on, and help bring this situation to light.


--  Dana

*************************************************************************

Dear Everyone,

Thank you.  In the past few weeks I have been absolutely shocked by the response my open letter to Starbucks received.  At the time I wrote what I thought was a simple customer service letter, a letter that had too many characters to fit into email field on Starbuck’s customer service website, so Dana had the idea to put it up on her blog, that way we could also share it with our friends to share OUR shock at the fact that this sort of thing still happens in this day and age in America, and it happens in an environment that prides itself on being a tolerant work place.  If it can happen there it can happen anywhere.  That was the intention of the blog, at the time the ONLY place I posted a link was on my facebook wall to share with my friends.  While it was not my original intention to post the letter to a blog, I liked that we did, because to me, I felt like that would make it harder for Starbucks to sweep the situation under the rug. To me, if it was public record it might force their hand to take action.

What happened next was unexpected. Thirty Four of our (Dana’s and my) friends reposted this link. That was the start of the seed thirty four people, were so outraged by what they read that they reposted and they asked others to, and so on and so on until it just exploded. Thirty four people, some gay, mostly straight... all of them outraged by the lack of basic human decency they read about. The bigotry. They all sent the same message, “This is unacceptable. We are better than this.”  The out pouring of love an support for Jeffrey and the LGBT community was a beautiful thing to experience.  For every negative comment there were five or six more offering support or their own similar story.  I was touched that what I wrote resonated with so many people.  That it sparked so many people to take action.

However I’m sad to say it did not cause everyone to take action.
I am writing this to say that we were lied to. Every single one of us.

The initial reaction from Starbucks was a form letter, which of course was disappointing.  Which is what I feared and was a reason why I was pleased with our decision to put the letter on the blog. To me that proved that it was not me that captured Starbucks attention, it was the diligence of all of you who posted it, and encouraged others to do the same. Within hours Starbucks responded to me directly via twitter, a few hours after that I got a phone call from Brad at their corporate offices to take my statement. I was promised they were taking the matter very seriously. I was promised that they would do a complete and thorough investigation and I was promised that I would be kept informed. They asked me, what I wanted out of this and I told them,

“I just want you to make this right. Whatever that means. Make it right. Handle the situation.  I don’t want blood, I don’t want these women’s jobs. Make it right. At the very least, if this young man did feel persecuted  do not let a black mark follow him on his employment record.”

They promised me that they would do whatever it took. They told me that they were writing a blog that linked to our letter directly to show how seriously they were taking it.
I took them at their word, that they were horrified by the situation. That they were going to look into it and that they were better than the way those women represented them.  The conversation ended with them thanking me for bringing this event to their attention.

At that point I took to my twitter, my facebook wall and the Starbucks facebook wall to basically say, “I am the woman who wrote the corporate letter to Starbucks. I have spoken to a representative and they have promised me they are investigating and taking this matter very seriously. We now have to step back and give them a chance to right this wrong and have faith that they will do it.”

At that point, I stopped reposting the link. I offered them the respect and the space to do what was right. I had three goals at that point.

1. Capture Starbucks attention and have them take action.
2. Find Jeffrey in the hopes that he would see the outpouring of love and support there was for him.
3. Raise awareness that this sort of thing does happen.

Within hours of speaking to Starbucks, I got a phone call from Jeffrey. A friend of his forwarded him the blog.  I will not reveal the details of our conversation because I do not want to affect the outcome of any further legal action he might take, but I will say, there was so much information made available to me that I of course didn’t know when I wrote the blog.  Information, that I felt, since Starbucks also had it, would make them take swift and serious action.  I was confidant the situation would be resolved.

So I stepped back. I only completed interviews that I agreed to take before speaking to Jeffrey and Starbucks.  In every interview I praised Starbucks response in handling the situation. They addressed it publicly with strongly worded sentiments.  They promised swift action. They praised themselves on being a diverse workspace and they would do anything to protect that reputation.

“Protect that REPUTATION.”

I can now say, two weeks later, I was wrong.
I was lied to and as a result you were lied to as well.

For all of their strongly worded blog posts and tweets DO NOT match their actions.
Rather than completing a thorough investigation they spoke to the women responsible and came to the conclusion that, while they do not deny that the situation took place, I must have misunderstood what I thought I heard.

These are the undeniable facts that can not be spun no matter how hard Starbucks tries... I as a casual customer walked into that Starbucks location, that is 60 miles from my home for the first time and I left knowing:

*They did have an employee named Jeffrey (Warren).
*I did witness him being pushed out of his job, he was bullied humiliated and reduced to tears in the middle of the shop floor. *I left knowing Jeffrey’s sexual orientation, something that should never be brought into and has ZERO bearing on job performance.

Those are the facts.
I was also, not the only one who witnessed the event. My wife caught the tail end of the “rant” when Jeffrey was in the bathroom. She heard the same comments I heard. There was no misunderstanding the situation.

Starbucks rather than doing a through investigation took action to sweep it under the rug and hoped that people forgot or would lose interest.  They were confidant that people would take them on their strongly worded email and the situation would die there.

I ask you, how complete could their investigation have been without ever speaking to Jeffrey? Without asking the “victim” for their statement. Instead their investigation involved asking the women involved, who of course were all trying to protect their jobs.

I don’t know what the outcome of their investigation was. I know what their public response has been and I know that as of the last time I spoke to Jeffrey (just a few days ago) they had STILL not yet contacted him. Nor, had they responded to his lawyer.

They DID NOT take proper action.
Their investigation into the matter was not thorough and it certainly was not fair.
Their goal was not to “right a wrong” but to cover their bottom line and protect their “reputation”.

Starbucks, actions speak louder than words.

I have had so many regrets about the way I handled this. I was too naive. I took them at their word. I stopped reposting the letter. I stopped taking interviews after Jeffrey surfaced unless asked to by Jeffrey because I felt like, at this point it was “His story.” For the record I would also like to say that I personally did not contact a single media outlet. Every single interview I gave was from people who contacted me.  To all the people who say this was a ploy to generate attention for the blog.... Shame on you. Shame on you for being so cynical to think that it is out of the realm of possibility to take a stand for a person without the benefit of personal gain.  That is what is wrong with the world today.  A lack of empathy. 

Dana and I have denied more interviews than we have granted.
We have not made a dime from this ordeal.
This was not even my blog!

This whole incident put our entire family under a microscope and turned our lives into a pressure cooker. This was not “fun” for anyone. Part of my inaction in previous weeks was waiting for it to “blow over” -

I can’t sit by and wait anymore.
I gave Starbucks a respectable amount of time to handle this and take action and they have not.  They after two weeks had still not contacted Jeffrey.  Their lack of action, to me is sending a really dangerous message. That this kind of bullying is acceptable. That if you have deep enough pockets supporting you, you can get away with abusing someone.

I stand by my original statement that Starbucks as a corporation was not responsible for the incident, however, their lack of real action now makes them responsible.

I can’t sleep at night, or look my daughter in the face if I have a chance to make this right and I don’t.  I am desperate to find the silver lining in all of this and I realized if I want something to positive to come out of this, I have to take matters into my own hand because Starbucks had the chance and did nothing to make this right.

So we called The Trevor Project.

I spoke with a representative from their office and expressed my desire to make Lemonade out of these lemons.  To do something, anything, to make this right. To take all of this attention, and take the outrage that people felt reading the blog and to channel it into something positive.  To make a change. To allow us, the people outraged by this event to really make a difference. To send the message that this is unacceptable and if Starbucks won’t make it right than our hands are not tied. We can still do something.  The Trevor Project representative told me he had been following the story, and was pleased that we reached out to them.

On our blog we will be posting a link to the Trevor Project where you can make a donation on behalf of Jeffrey and all of the “Jeffreys” out there in the world.

We are not asking for much. We just ask that rather than give the four dollars you would normally spend a morning on a cup of Starbucks you donate that money to the Trevor Project, where it will go to help LGBT youths at risk, because of the type of bullying I witnessed Jeffrey experience. If you want to donate more, that of course, would be amazing. The more money we can raise for this cause the louder the message we send not just to Starbucks but to the world.


This type of behavior is unacceptable.
We will not let this happen.
We will not tolerate bullying or homophobia.

Please take the time and donate something. If everyone who read that blog post and was moved by it donates even $1, hundreds of thousands of dollars would have been funneled into that charity and would be doing some real good in the world. I know that is a ridiculous expectation to have, but even a fraction of that money can make a REAL difference in the world we live in.

Please donate, please forward this link and encourage your friends to donate.
Let’s as a group, send the message that it does in fact, “Get Better.”
You just have to work really hard and work together to make sure that it does.


Thank you for your time and consideration,
Missy Alison

****************************************************************************



So, here's our call for action.  If even for one day, please SKIP your cup of Starbucks coffee and take that money and donate to the Trevor Project.


If you are not familiar with them, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth. Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential lifeline, in-school workshops, educational materials, online resources and advocacy. To make a donation online, visit www.thetrevorproject.org/donate.


 Or even simpler, to donate quickly and simply, using your mobile phone, text: TREVOR to 85944 to donate $5.00 to The Trevor Project.  Right now, you can spend your coffee money on making a REAL difference without even having to get up and find your credit card.


I've donated my $5 (today) with a simple text.   





If you'd like to, leave a comment and let us know that you've donated.  Let's show Starbucks that we are upset at their inaction, and let's show Jeffrey and everyone LIKE him who has ever been bullied, that we won't tolerate it any more.  It may not just "get better", unless we MAKE it better.  And this is a start. 


(You can comment here, even anonymously if you'd like, and let's see how much money we can raise for the cause.)


 And if you can't donate (or choose not to), that's OK too.  Please help us out by forwarding this link to everyone you know who may care.  We made millions of people aware of the problem, let's now make sure we all hear of the solution.


Thank You.    Seriously, Thank You.


Love,
Dana Alison

To keep up with updates you can follow me on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/dana_rubyfruit and please "like" our blog fan page on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lil-Family-Blog/139186336101600

74 comments:

  1. Getting us started: I donated my $5 today via text message.

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  2. Donated my $5 by text message as well.

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  3. Oh, Starbucks. Texted my $5.

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  4. Well, been nice knowin' ya Starbucks. Ladies, since I read your original post, I haven't been able to go past a Starbucks, let alone in one, without thinking about what you wrote. Friends keep telling me I should be buying local anyway. [Hello, Metropolis coffee, you can have my money.] Looks like this is the straw that broke the camel's back.

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  5. Starbucks will NEVER get a dime from me ever again, I have donated my $5.

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  6. I almost went into Starbucks this morning for a cup but changed my mind. I'm glad I did. Just texted my $5.

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  7. I've never donated to anything before, and was happy to text $5 and skip my frappuccino today, if not for a long while. I'm so disappointed in them, but thank you for standing up for what you believe. What a GREAT example for all of us and your daughter. Cheers.

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  8. I wish I could say I couldn't have predicted this, but corporate is corporate. Starbucks clearly offers lip service and NOTHING MORE to GLBT people. They are now back on my boycott list - I'll be going to the locally owned, non homophobic coffee shop across the street from now on.

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  9. I would take your call to action one step further - donate the $5, then skip Starbucks until they REALLY do something. There are too many alternatives out there, so Starbucks is NOT the only decent place for a coffee. Take your money and your voice elsewhere. Only when their bottom line is affected, will they truly respond. They have shown this by their lack of complete action.

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  10. I keep posting a link to this on Starbucks FB page and they delete it within less than a minute. 3 times now. I think we should all repost and repost there until their fingers get sore from deleting it. I suspect I'll be banned from their page soon...

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  11. donated. no more starbucks for me until this is resolved!

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  12. Ha ha! Good idea - I see a bunch of us just posted links on the Starbucks FB page. Have fun deleting Starbucks. I hope it gets seriously annoying.

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  13. A quick note - if you want to donate via form on their website it is a minimum $15, not $5. $5 is only on the txt msg donation.

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  14. Lets tell Starbucks they need to Donate $100,000 to the Trevor project to prove their words!

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  15. If Jeffrey has retained legal counsel, I am not surprised that Starbucks will not speak with him directly.

    That said, I still hope they will take action and at the very least reprimand those women.

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  16. I have to say I am not surprised. I am sure this is a CYA for the lawsuit that Jeffery has going on, and rightfully so. Any admitting of this is going to admit they are at fault for the lawsuit. I hope this brings to light the discrimination and faulty thinking. More exposure by all of us means more exposure and hopefully a change in our thinking as a society. THanks for your bravery and fighting the fight.

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  17. Texting sure makes donating easier these days! I just donated my $5 :)

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  18. I meant Jefferey's lawsuit was rightful, not Starbucks response. I wish I shopped there so I could take my dollars away from there now.

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  19. They should have still contacted him for his version of what transpired. To me, them not getting a statement from him as part of an investigation proves that they are only worried about protecting their bottom line and not their employees, customers or their abiding by their own Philosophy. If that's the case than they should not make a deceptive statement to the general public...

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  20. From what it says Starbucks haven't even taken calls from Jefferys attorney tho

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  21. I donated and posted this on my FB wall and on Starbucks' FB wall. Thank you for keeping us up to date on this.

    Cody

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  22. How disappointing ... sounds to me like Starbuck's has a bigger problem than was originally thought. A true epidemic of bad management, and as usual,the corporate mouthpiece is either too many light years away from the issue or, sadly as it seems, they just don't care. I'm gonna miss my ice coffee ...

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  23. Thanks for keeping attention on this. I've been wondering whether Jeffrey's gotten another job. Could you let us know (if you have his permission to do so)?

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  24. Texted my donation. It only gets better if we make it better. Thanks for all your hard work on this and I'm sorry that it has meant additional stress on your family. I hope you will feel like it's worth it in the end.

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  25. @Anon--- good idea! and they should donate it in Jeffery's name!

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  26. I have a starbucks double shot every morning. I will try to ween myself off of it, but I don't buy from starbucks directly, I get it at 7-11 or the grocery store. I will text my $5 today and will try to do it every month. I'm very disappointed in starbucks and very proud of you Missy. I'm so glad to have grown up with you and be able to call you my friend.

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  27. Kristy Lacombe WareJune 28, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    We won't be going to Starbucks any longer. I looove their coffee, but I love people more. I don't need the calories anyway. :) I will try to spread the word.

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  28. Kristy Lacombe WareJune 28, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    I made my donation too. :)

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  29. I donated my 5$ today and reposted your link on the Starbucks mainpage, my Facebook page and set messages to my friends...
    thank you so much for your bravery, courage and resolve!

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  30. I have never bought coffee at Starbucks and never will. I buy local or make it at home. I texted my $5. I have a gay sister who has been harassed at the workplace.

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  31. I will donate when I get paid again on Thursday. It will be well worth it to send my $5 to The Trevor Project and not to Starbucks. I am very disappointed in their behavior.

    Thank you for making a stink about the situation and not giving up on it, following through and making the public see what Starbucks is really like.

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  32. I just donated Dana, thanks for the update!
    Gabi-august 2008

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  33. I just donated, and I will never step foot in another Starbucks again.

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  34. Donated my $5 via text

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  35. I think you should contact the news people that wanted your input before and let them know what starbucks 'decided you heard'

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  36. Just donated. Thank you for your courage and your call to action. I am appalled at this, and my heart goes out to Jeffrey and all who suffer bullying anywhere, anytime. This is unacceptable and we must continue to do everything we can to make. it. stop.

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  37. donated and will not buy Starbucks again until this is resolved.

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  38. Thank you for taking a stand and staying the course. Your act of conscience supports the promise so many of us have made to youth that "it gets better". Starbucks has lost another family of customers.

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  39. Donated, let's hope it can make a difference.

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  40. Donated and starbucks has lost another customer.

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  41. I think you should contact Fox Cable News with this story and get more exposure for it.It is News that everyone should know about!!

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  42. Donated my five

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  43. Donated until this is "fixed" my tea will need to be made elsewhere.

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  44. People...Please GET A LIFE! Leave Starbucks alone! They have thousands of locations all over the world and you people are going to throw a tantrum over the stupid behavior of a couple of employees. This is the classic nonsense we are seeing today. Hypersensitivity and political correctness have reached new heights. What's all this about boycotting Starbucks over this? Like they don't have anything else to worry about? I swear I am sick of this whole LGBT movement holding a dagger to the necks of everyone who doesn't bend over and kiss their behind.

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  45. Dear Anonymous: You are missing the point. Do not pick on one movement such as the LGBT. This could have happned to anyone and hopefully it doesn't happen to you. Discrimination in the workplace has no bias. It happens to many people every day not only people due to their sexuality. If you take the sexuality issue out of the equation you now have the problem at its core. This incident should have never happened in a public venue. Whether you are are being reprimanded or receiving a raise the public arena is no place for workplace personal issues. Sit back a moment and put yourself in the place of that young man. Your life being played out in front of an audience. I don't think you would be feeling to comfortable either. Good Luck to you if it ever happens.

    Karen

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  46. Nobody is asking for a boycott of Starbucks. It is also, at this point, not the behavior of a few individuals. It has become a corporate problem, when the corporation lies to and misleads their customers and does not take real action, only offers lip service. That is clearly outlined in these blogs. Perhaps your reading comprehension is not up to par? Again, I suggest you re-read these posts so you can be better informed before spewing bile, and quite honestly looking fooling. All we are asking is you forgo ONE cup of coffee (or don't and just make the donation) and make a small donation to a suicide prevention charity that works tirelessly to raise awareness to prevent this sort of bullying. You are opposed to people donating to charity?

    Then don't.
    I'm not asking you to boycott Starbucks.
    I'm not even asking you to CARE.
    But a quarter of a million people read the open letter and we have received 1,000s of emails from people asking how they can get involved and asking what they could do to help. We felt like this was a very simple gesture of solidarity and an attempt to inform the public while doing some good in the world. Trying to find the silver lining in this otherwise dark cloud.

    Don't donate.
    Don't care.
    That's fine.
    But know that there are 1,000s of people who do care. We are doing this for them, and for Jeffrey and for all of the Jeffrey's in the world.

    I hope you have a nice day anonymous.
    I really hope you do.

    Cheers,
    Missy Alison.

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  47. Donated $25 (I drink alot of coffee)

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  48. Missy and Dana, thank you for posting the open letter, following up and bringing this issue to light. I wish that Starbucks had done the right thing, or at least taken a more appropriate course of action, which should have included talking to Jeffrey right away, not ignoring him for 2 weeks and speaking only to the manager who was likely worried she'd lose her job and doing her best to cover her @$$.

    Jeffrey, I'm sorry you had to go through this whole mess. No one deserves to be treated that way. I read through most of the comments on the original blog post (the one that went viral!) and was relieved to see the majority of the responses Missy's letter received were positive and supportive.

    I'm bi and my husband/partner is a trans man, so either one of us could have been in your place in this situation, simultaneously outed and fired in front of customers and co-workers.

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  49. I happen to be straight but this sort of thing disgusts me. I'm not the least bit surprised & many of you have far more compassion than I (reading my blog, "The Angry Redheaded Lawyer" would explain things). For one, I worked in retail for 7 years & had a manager publicly chew me out on the sales floor once because he refused to properly staff the section & I wasn't Superwoman. Lucky for me, I had a supervisor with a brain who told me to ignore the guy. Second, I happen to be in a position of authority in my own business & would fire someone in a second for airing dirty laundry in front of customers. Jobs aren't a right & there's probably LOTS of unemployed people in Long Island right now who could do these jobs much better and for 1/2 the pay. I have no sympathy for bad workers wasting business resources & making the business inefficient or worse.

    Third, I'm a lawyer & look at things from a legal standpoint. I also look at things from a global perspective + know how businesses operate. Talk from anyone, especially the PR rep, means nothing to me.

    People who say "don't speak up" are the same people who probably believe segregation ended or unions developed because rich, white people developed a conscience. Guess what? People had to FIGHT for those. If you don't speak up then tomorrow, it will be YOU being oppressed. That's a well documented promise & it's why we have attorneys in the first place.

    I hope Jeffrey's got a good lawyer who will be a true advocate. I'm also glad there are no Starbucks in my neighborhood but I'd boycott anyway & think people should. At a minimum, this particular location.

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  50. Starbuck's was only an "if nothing else is available" option, but, now, I think I'll just skip it. The taste might make me sick. (Safari Coffee, Ryan Bros and Escondido Joe's for me, please!)

    Jeffrey, I sincerely hope that you find employment in a much more professional setting, with people who can behave like civilized adults! No-one deserves to be treated the way you were, and I hope it never happens again!

    I was once bumped out of a job because I declined an "invitation" to join a supervisor's church group - they're a rather nasty fundamentalist group, and I'm a happy pagan. I didn't make any snide remarks or anything, just said, "No, thank you, I have other plans for my weekends." He got really huffy and said that if I didn't care about the "state of my soul", then I must not care about my job, either, so I'd better go. I replied that I had been there for over a year, there had been only good performance reviews and no-one else had ever had any issues with my personal beliefs, since I never discussed them at work! The moron actually claimed that my co-workers didn't speak up, as they were afraid I'd "put some evil on them", and used it as an excuse for firing me! (The labor board's rep got a kick out of that - one she'd never heard before!) Years later, I found out that he'd knocked up his wife's teenage sister and was caught trying to skip town with the company's money (yeah, great "Christian values", bud), and laughed so hard I thought I'd choke, but, at the time it felt pretty crappy!

    Anyway, I've rambled enough...good luck to you, and thanks to Missy and Dana for bringing this to the public's attention!

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  51. Starbucks handled this properly. 25,000 children die everyday from poverty related causes and your all crying about a misconception.

    Pathetic.

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  52. I am not to sure what you think we are all misconcepting about and what starving children have to do with this but I think you should read Missy's orginal letter again and the letter from the young man Jeff's mother. This incident has hope for all children written all over it. It has to do with the bullying of adults and children no matter who they are or what race, color, or creed they are. Humiliation and bullying in the workplace and schools leads to childhood suicides, young adult suicides or maybe worse. A good example is the young college student who jump off the bridge in New York because of the video his roomate took of him and blasted it out on you tube. What were they thinking. These are peoples lives you are playing with. I think Starbucks is totally wrong just for not doing anything immediate about the situation. Are they worried at all about the state that young man may be in at the moment for the humilation that he indured because of those 3 employees. Again I think you should reread the letter. You have missed the entire message. You may not agree but please do not sound so foolish.

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  53. I have donated $5 via text. Thank you for all your family has done to help this young man. You are an inspiration, regardless of what detractors and trolls say, you are a good person, and a wonderful role model for your daughter, to stand up and do everything you can to make injustice right. Thank you, you make the world for all our children a better place. As a fellow mom of 2 boys, I thank you.

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  54. Dear Pathetic

    If you had not read the mothers letter here it is:

    Inspired Yet?
    by Karen


    "To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.

    Here are the principles of how we live that every day:"



    Approximately 2 weeks ago a member of my family, my son Jeff, was exposed to the above message. This message is an excerpt of the Starbucks mission statement


    I only hope that no one else is exposed to this statement as my son was.

    Three female employees ganged up on him publicly in the middle of a Centereach Starbucks store and openly spoke about store polices and how he may or may not have been wrong in front of the entire store, customers and other employees alike.....is this "to inspire and nurture the human spirit?"

    According to Missy, a Starbucks customer, who as you probably have read her letter on this blog witnessed the entire incident as he was publicly bashed regarding being gay in front of the entire store when Jeff went to the men's room.....is this "to inspire and nurture the human spirit.?"

    After Jeff, publicly humiliated, collected himself and came back from the men's room, the rant continued to a point where Jeff is now unemployed......is this "to inspire and nurture the human spirit?"

    Is anyone feeling inspired yet?

    If we as the public do not display our distaste for this kind of behavior it may inspire and nurture the human spirit for other employees to engage in the same disgusting behavior toward another human being publicly, whether that person is Gay, Black, White, Chinese, Japanese or any other race, color or creed that comes into the Starbucks stores around the world.

    Frightening, isn't it.


    With the inappropriate behavior of these 3 Starbucks employees in front of children (like Missy's child) how are we to teach our children not to bully other children to the extent of their humiliation and not wanting to go to school or maybe even worse.

    Regarding this Starbucks incident.....Missy has demonstrated that there are people out there willing to stand up for what is right and help others. My hat is off to Missy. I have never met her, but she stands for the unity of humanity that is a good lesson for all of us to live by. Now that is inspiring.


    Jeff has received many emails and support from people all over the world which touched him deeply. It gives me a new found hope that someday there will be harmony among the human race.

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  55. Starbucks has shown their true colors. I have too many other options, even in my small rural town, to put up with that nonsense. Not only did I just donate my $5 to the Trevor Project, but I will now be boycotting Starbucks permanently. Even if they right this wrong, it'll only be because of public pressure, not because it was the right thing to do in the first place. Good luck!

    Nashay Clemons

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  56. I can personally account for three of those I know (including myself) who have not only donated the $5 via text, but are also boycotting Starbucks in full until this is resolved. I have gone back to buying from my locally owned coffee shops, Cup of Joe, instead. They make better coffee, keep the money in the community, and I can tell Starsucks to stuff it concurrently. We cannot only talk the talk; we have to walk the walk as well. It doesn't get better unless we DEMAND better.

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  57. I donated to the project because I think it is a great organization after reading about it. This situation is disappointing on so many levels, and very eye opening.

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  58. How deeply and profoundly sad I am to read that I was duped, I bought the apology, even defended Starbucks on another board.

    Starbucks if you are listening know this, if corporations condone bulling what possible chance do we have to eliminate it in our schools?

    The world is watching you, the LGBT community is waiting on action. Action is not telling Missy what you think she heard, action is not publicly boasting about your stellar record as if you are beyond reproach...action is a conversation with the parties involved and doing something to change this and make it right.

    Step into the greatness of this moment in front of you, change this, and you change the world...we are watching...we are waiting...

    Ming Destiny

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  59. I am straight and work in HR. I fully support the LGBT community. I don't know if Jeffrey was a good worker or if he should have been fired. But I KNOW the way he was let go was unacceptable, and inhumane. His sexuality should NEVER be part of a job related decision or conversation.

    I think you need to consider that you did not tell Starbucks what you wanted specifically. You asked them to "Make it right". That's subjective. Did you want Jeffrey rehired? Did you want the HR person reprimanded? Fired? Did you want Jeffrey's ex-coworkers (the girls in the bathroom) reprimanded or fired? All of the above?

    I'd love for the woman who fired Jeffrey to speak out and explain the misunderstanding. If someone perceived that I treated someone so poorly I would want to explain myself.

    Jeffrey has retained a lawyer and so I assume he intends to sue Starbucks. Given these circumstances I think it would have been EASIER for Starbucks to fire the woman and close the door. But perhaps Starbucks doesn't want to answer an injustice with another injustice.

    Perhaps in the wake of treating and employee with so little dignity they don't want to publicize the reprimand, demotion, etc. of other employees and perpetuate the indignity.

    Bottom Line: What did you want?

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  60. Donated! Thank you, The Trevor Project, for working to make a difference!

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  61. Shared your blog and made my donation today ....would have done it sooner but I wanted a chance to read it before I shared it :) xoxoCheryl

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  62. Susan:

    Thank you so much for your comments. Due to not being able to speak about the case since we have retained an attorney the most I can tell you is that we didn't have a chance to speak with Starbucks to let them know what we wanted being they contacted Missy (the customer who wrote the letter) and not Jeff. I would imagine since attorney's are now involved we no longer can speak directly to Starbucks. That is all I can say. I wish I can say more and let you know what we want but I can't. Please follow the story as Missy will be giving updates as time goes on.

    Thank you again
    Karen

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  63. Just threw my starbucks card in the garbage. I am TIRED of corporate America allowing this kind of stuff to continue. Each of us by ourselves can make a huge difference by only spending our money in places that behave appropriately.

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  64. This is completely ridiculous. Had Jeffrey not been gay, you wouldn't have thought twice about the incident. There is such a ridiculous double-standard that we have to be sooooo sensitive to the feelings of gay people. What a joke.

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  65. Kudos to Starbucks for not getting bullied by the preposterous gay agenda.

    Starbucks...it gets better.

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  66. @ the last two Anon posts - Fuck off, haters. This is NOT the place for you. There is nothing "preposterous" about wanting to be treated as a full human beings with ALL the rights of the US laws, including the right to marry and to be free from harassment and hate because of our families.

    I only hope that someday, somehow, you can see the light. The world is changing and one day soon, we WILL have full equal HUMAN RIGHTS in this country!!!

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  67. I just learned of this absurdly overblown incident today.

    It is a remarkable example of discrimination by the blogger herself when she states that she should not have left that store knowing the sexual preference of "Jeffery". It is equally the case that she should not have left that store knowing the sexual preferences of anybody who worked there.

    That Jeffery himself (and nooooobody else, at least that the blogger bothers to document) brought his own sexual preferences into the work environment is on him, and not on Starbucks or anybody else.

    Starbucks' only response in this matter, as anybody can plainly deduce, was to a rogue "blogger" who truly has no business darkening a corporate image based on innuendo and hearsay.

    That the blogger is "gay" only further lessens the chance that she could present a fair and unbiased recap and report of events.

    Imagine somebody who only sits in on the conversation at termination time, as a supposedly disinterested 3rd party, who simultaneously speculates while knowing exactly nothing of "Jeffery's" job performance leading up to that day.

    The blogger has been in the wrong from day one, and no amount of gay sympathy can reverse that reality.

    (side note to Godys Diane: You are simply wrong. Gays already have "ALL the rights of the US laws". Gays already have "the right to marry" {as they always have!}. Gays already have "full equal HUMAN RIGHTS" {as they always have}

    When you confuse "human rights" with "special rights" (not currently known to others) then you clearly don't understand what "equal" means)


    Should the blogger or anybody else cite true and actual examples of "discrimination", then the law will listen. Until then, Starbucks' position is right, and Jeffery's job performance, and not his "gay" status, was his undoing.

    That "job performance" (in Jeffery's case) included telling the world about his sex life is on him, and not on Starbucks. It is no more appropriate that Jeffery shared details with coworkers and managers about his sex life than it is that a male high school teacher might share details with female students of his sex life.

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  68. To the anon...

    You do not know the circumstances behind all of this. You know the questions people ask - "So, you seeing anyone?", "Got a girlfriend?" - He shouldn't have to hide who he is. It's a pain in the ass to have to hide who you are. And for revealing his sex life, that is bull... Someone's sexual identity has nothing to do with their sex life. Telling people that you have a same-sex spouse shouldn't be condemning, nor grounds for being harassed. Plus, I'm sure he wasn't telling anyone what he was doing in his bedroom. Most people do not go around telling all of that - gay or straight.

    If that is airing out your sexual laundry, what would someone asking how your wife (assuming you had one) was doing. Would that be considered talking about your sex life?

    Anyway, no one here knows for sure how his sexuality came to light at this store.

    Another question is, how was the blogger being discriminatory? Who or what those people are, are none of her business. She shouldn't have had to see that going on. I'm glad she did though. Brought some light to what was going on. The only thing she should have seen was workers serving coffee, donuts and cleaning up their store. Nothing more.

    It seems that people need to take everything into consideration before lighting the torch and readying the pitchfork.

    I seriously doubt the troll... erm... I mean person above will see this again; being posted a while back. I just felt like putting my two-cents into the conversation and put out there that someone saying they are gay does not count as talking about their sex life...

    -Zander

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  69. I donated too. Thanks for writing about this and bringing it to our attention. To Starbucks, please do the right thing. We're watching. And we, your loyal customers, are everywhere.

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  70. Its a very good post. I was very pleased to find this site.

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