Starbucks to Remove Offensive Posters from Stores

This poster appeared in several Starbucks locations around the country upsetting many customers


Apologizes for upsetting customers

ARA KHACHATOURIAN

While ordering their morning drinks on Wednesday, many Starbucks customers were shocked to see posters depicting women wearing Armenian traditional costumes under the Turkish Crescent and Star.

After inquiries from Asbarez, a spokesperson said that Starbucks has already begun the removal of the offensive posters and apologized for upsetting their customers.

“Serving as a place for the community to connect is core to our business and we strive to be locally relevant in all of our stores. We missed the mark here and we apologize for upsetting our customers and the community. We have removed this art in our Mulholland & Calabasas store in Woodland Hills and are working to make this right,” a Starbucks spokesperson told Asbarez via email. The spokesperson said that the company was “looking into this to ensure this image is not in any other Starbucks locations.”

Starbucks did not comment about what prompted the company to display the posters.

The swift response to this matter can also be attributed to a wave of protests on social media from Armenians who were insulted and taken aback by what appeared to be lack of sensitivity from Starbucks, a company that prides itself on social justice and social issues. The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region immediately launched a social media campaign urging followers to document locations and call Starbucks to complain with #BoycottStarbucks message.

Starbucks was facing a “Venti” debacle, when angry posts began to circulate on Facebook and Twitter, some calling for a boycott of the largest coffee retailer in the world. This was yet another sign of collective grassroots activism on the part of the Armenian community.

In addressing the issue with Starbucks, Asbarez pointed to many actions by the Turkish government that were in stark contrast to the company’s standards of ethics.

“Why would Starbucks promote a country that in the last year was deemed as the largest jailer of journalists; has shut down Twitter and YouTube in its campaign to oppress freedom of speech; has jailed demonstrators for reform; whose president has called for legislation to categorize women as second class citizens; and continues to deny the Armenian Genocide, which killed more than 1.5 million people in 1915 among other things, which include calling Israel a terrorist state,” Asbarez inquired from Starbucks corporate communications.

If readers spot more of these posters, please alert Starbucks customer service at 800.782.7282.

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53 Comments

  1. areen said:

    Kind of off the main point here, but why put any focus on Israel? They have terrorized many Palestinians under their control. Israel has many human rights violations under its belt. Not to mention they don’t recognize the Armenian Genocide either.

  2. Ariatsi said:

    Well said, except for one thing. Stop defending Israel, it is a terrorist state!

  3. H. Aghbashian said:

    Thank you for your great efforts and the follow up.
    Dgherk, be awake and call Starbucks customer service at 800.782.7282, if it needs.
    And try to hunt any offensive posters against our great cause.

  4. Vahe said:

    Starbucks sells what must be the worst coffee I have ever tasted.
    The first time I had a Starbucks I brought it back and said it tasted burned.
    It was horrible.
    The Starbucks clerk essentially admitted that was the way it was supposed to be.
    By the way, I don’t think Starbucks is so politically on target.
    It’s “pc”, which anyone can be if they simply go along with what the mainstream pundits tell us we have to believe. Get real.

  5. sylvie tertzakian said:

    why are we surprised and why do we react, instead of being proactive! a strong huge country–the inheritor of the ottoman empire–has the state means and funds to divert the attention of the world from the genocide centennial. instead of cleaning our dirty laundry publicly, we should unite and iron out our differences in the face of outsiders’ opposition to our security as a nation. only then, we can defend ourselves to external pressure. having said that, kudos to starbucks to have reacted to the pressure of their coffee loving clients–our grassroots.

  6. Gregory Mgerian said:

    It seems as either Starbucks is losing control of their local shops and they are being penetrated by AntiArmenian propagandists or it is beeing done centrally. It is hard to say which one is the worst.
    Both are very sad for Starbucks.

  7. Katia said:

    And I hope Armenians will pursue this matter further to find out WHO in the first place designed this poster and WHO gave the green-light to hang them up in the coffee shops!

  8. Lucy Joukhajian said:

    I had question marks in my head when I saw that Armenian faces with the Turkish flag in background.
    They are trying soo hard and in hideous measurements to deny their shameful acts in the past and make the world brainwashed with their lies/ pictures .

  9. Marie said:

    Why are you drinking this overprice coffee anyway? Anyone in your own home makes better coffee than STARBUCKS and would know not to make you look at that picture………………………your dollar counts when it comes to being active in the world………………………………..

  10. Alina said:

    please when you get a response from Starbucks as to why in the first place they chose to promote a county that has so much social oppression issues, I would really like to hear their response.

  11. Armen Adamian said:

    Does anyone know where this picture came from? Is it a Starbucks created picture? – or did Starbucks add a their iconic coffee cup to this already existing picture? How can we find out more about this picture?

  12. Vindicated Man said:

    As a favor to coffee drinkers, Starbucks should ditch the term “Turkish coffee” from its vocabulary, and use something accurate instead.

    • Karin said:

      Zero. Schultz, Starbucks CEO, is an enormous ally to Israel, and publicly promotes a continued “close” relationship between the US & Israel. The Turkish government has vastly downgraded their relationship and allied forces with Israel, over the past 10-20 years. Relations between Turkey and Israel are civil but nothing more. The Turkish government has no interest in being cozy with a company, which strongly supports Israel.

  13. Danoog said:

    Apparently marketing is not Starbucks’ strong suit. I will never buy Starbucks coffee, but I never liked it anyhow.

  14. Parsik said:

    to me this poster advertise something far more than commercial gains that company anticipated, it essentially says that in this new age of capitalism and corporate slavery , Star-bucks can buy everything, including culture, history, righteousness, morality, ethics and all those virtues that good people always believed it could never be for sale

  15. Satenik said:

    Of all the posters that they could use, they used this pathetic one. One wonders why. This from a company who pais zero tax …I am glad that some astute Armenians noticed this poster and made sure it was removed. NAME AND SHAME this people and hurt them where it hurts. Don’t give them the pleasure of your custom and insist they should compensate their “mistake”by putting a proper pictutr of Armenia or Armenians at all their branches. There are many ways to deal with these idiots who do things “accidentally”

  16. Vagharshak Sevulyan said:

    Hello,
    Apology is not enough. This is an insult to all Armenians. We should sue Starbucks for defacing us. Also boycott Starbucks.
    Sincerely Yours,
    Have a wonderful day.
    Vagharshak Sevulyan and Mary Sevulyan

  17. Mani said:

    Starbucks should pay for this defamation of Armenians. It should be sued. Imagine if Jewish coffee drinkers were glad to look at balloons with Nazi symbols. Would they have tolerated that? We don’t either.

  18. Mangofortango said:

    The photographer, the ignorant artist, Timothy Rose also removed his “creation” from his website. Apology is not enough. Starbucks should put a sign in all stores saying: “Armenian introduced coffee to the world. They open the first coffee house in Vienna”. Mongol turks had nothing to do with it.

  19. Nara said:

    Apology!? No it’s not enough! I want written APOLOGY on the wall of every Starbucks of the world!

  20. Avo said:

    i don’t get it. Why not ask Starbucks to replace the balloons with the Armenian flag? Plus doesn’t it reflect badly that we are not after the Turkish people, but the Turkish government? It’s not the fault of the people that live under that flag. I would love to see unity in people. Our cause is against government, not the people. Instead of attacking Starbucks, have we supplied them with any informational material on the matter to further educate them? Our cause should be educating and then seeing how they can in turn help us reach our goals. Removing a poster will not further that. I’ll bet anyone that’s seen it wouldn’t be able to identify the Armenians in the photo nor the flag. What if in place of the poster after removal there was something to explain WHY it was removed. This “revolution” “fight fight fight” mentality will not lead us anywhere. Educate others.

    • aTurk said:

      education unity and peace.. thank you my Armenian brother, we can not change the past but we will build the future together

  21. Osik said:

    Now that Starbucks is aware, and started removing adds, better we start to removing ours protests which contains that photo, Right?

  22. Ani o said:

    Actually it is not Turkish Coffee, it is Columbian Coffee. Middle Eastern people just happen to drink it snd claim it their own!

  23. Ani o said:

    If they were smart, they would’ve promoted the 100th of the Armenian Genocide and had Armenian Flags. Do you realize how many Armenians buy Starbucks each day?

  24. Pingback: Why Starbucks Should Have Demonstrated Some Cultural Fact Checking | Global PR Focus

  25. Richard Asadoorian said:

    Maybe as a gesture of contrition, Starbucks could donate a generous sum to the 100th Genocide Committee or some similar Hye cause.

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  30. Tolga Yekcan said:

    Actually, as a turkish citizen it is very hard for me to understand this strong hate of non-turkish Armenians. In Turkey the university I studied had many Armenian students and instructors. I haven’t seen any misbehaviour of these people or any misbehaviour against those people. There were also many Jewish and Greek students. The same thing applies for them. We are able to live in peace in Turkey. If we had done the opposite, the university would have lost many good students and instructors, and those students couldn’t get good positions of many multinational companies. That would be a lose lose situation. If you can’t stand a single poster in a single coffee shop and defend it by the irrelevant mistakes of the current government, you should think again!

  31. salpy stepanian said:

    2015 happens to be the centennial of the Armenian genocide committed by the Turkish government of 1915 , the Turkish government of today has not acknowledged the fact of the genocide committed by them ,that’s why they are trying to do anything they can to anger the Armenians .I shared the link on my facebook so all Armenians boycott starbucks coffee,and would loose our business forever .

  32. Vahe' said:

    The sad reality is that either STARBUCKS has ignorant management or got paid from TURKS to produce and display such an insulting poster in one or maybe in some other locations. In either case shame on STARBUCKS. Find and F I R E those responsible and educate them about ARMENIAN CAUSE .
    I am not a STARBUCKS fan and have never been and their coffee is not a special commodity and in my opinion they are selling only a logo.

  33. Anie Zanazanian said:

    Starbucks definitely has uneducated, uncultured people working at top shelf and use an advertising agency who are equally uncultivated.

  34. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    Should boycott every day …They can prepare their coffee at home and take with the…it is not life’s water …coffee available every where…

  35. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    Go and read about Armenian genocide …
    don’t pretend Saint …
    we lost lives and lands
    we are immigrants everywhere ….
    Do you have that feeling…?
    You hate Armenian …
    your grandfathers committed crimes…

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