With Starbuck’s stock underperforming, its about time someone questioned Starbucks’s liberal agenda. Just don’t expect the media to care.
A conservative think tank, The National Center for Public Policy Research, confronted outgoing controversial Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. As an owner of Starbucks stock, the group sent its General Counsel Justin Danhof to Starbucks’s annual shareholders meeting on March 22. There, he questioned Schultz for his public liberal opinions that may have hurt the company’s stock price.
In reference to Schultz’s Jan. 29 decision that Starbucks would hire 10,000 refugees, Danhof asked Schultz “How much will Starbucks investors have to spend so that the company can properly vet refugees that the federal government admits it can’t afford to vet?”
He also asked Schultz why he condemned President Donald Trump’s immigration order but “lacked the courage to speak out against the Obama-Clinton travel ban?”
The media yawned at his objections, though they have long-supported the company’s leftward tilt. The New York Times featured an AP article that said Schultz’s recent liberal moves were seen by objectors as just “opportunistic.” The piece then blamed part of Starbucks’s image problems on people demanding that Starbucks keep its “commitment to using recyclable cups.”
Paul R. La Monica, Digital Correspondent for CNNMoney, buried Danhof’s question in his story. However, he at least admitted that Starbucks’s competitor Dunkin’ Donuts refusal to get political “might be helping it.”
Schultz answered that his decision to hire 10,000 refugees was based only on “humanity and compassion” and not on politics.” He also emphasized that he knows of no evidence of any “dilution of the integrity of the Starbucks brand, reputation, or our core business as a result of being compassionate.”
However, since Trump’s election, the stock market has soared but owners of Starbucks stock have been left behind. Between Nov. 8 and March 22, Starbucks stock has risen just 2.3 percent, while competitor Dunkin Donuts stock has risen 16.3 percent. Starbucks has well underperformed in the S&P 500, the index that contains Starbucks, which has risen 9.1 percent since the election.
The liberal media were all too happy to depict Schultz’s refugee decision as compassionate. CNNmoney reporter Jill Disis covered the story on Jan. 29, and highlighted Schultz’s flowery language like "we are in business to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time," but failed to mention any risks or objections to the new plan.
NPR’s Rebecca Hersher painted Schultz’s decision as his supporting “people affected by President Trump's sweeping freeze.” She also emphasized the CEO’s attacks on Trump’s plans to replace Obamacare and build a border wall, but no mention of potential monetary or political problems that could ensue.
Slate staff writer Henry Grabar outright praised Schultz’s refugee hiring plan as one of “the more effective corporate statements against the travel ban.”
The coffee chain also took heat in 2013 for “telling customers that they shouldn't carry guns in their stores (or the outdoor seating areas around their stores).”
Starbucks may have begun to feel the heat from their liberal political stances. They announced, On March 22, that they plan to employ 25,000 vets by 2025.
Former Juniper Networks CEO Kevin Johnson is set to replace Schultz as CEO in April of 2017.