Two CEOs, two opposing positions on same-sex “marriage,” two similar results? I doubt it.
I’m sure I don’t need to remind CV readers of the Chick-fil-A controversy. Just the fact that it has the label “controversy” tells you something.
At a Starbuck’s annual shareholders meeting on March 20th, CEO Howard Schultz responded to shareholder Thomas Strobahr, founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center, who brought up Starbuck’s support for Washington’s gay “marriage” referendum and said “In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings, shall we say politely, were a bit disappointing.” Schultz expanded the data range and argued that Starbucks “did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year.” Perhaps you could score one for Schultz, though statisticians may quibble.
Later, Schultz defended the company’s support of the referendum thusly:
“We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds.”
At that point the audience interrupted in cheers and applause. Then Schultz concluded, “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.” More cheers.
So Schultz embraces diversity, of all kinds, except those who support natural marriage?
We shall see if bigoted Christian mayors throughout the U.S. threaten to keep Starbucks from opening in their towns. We shall see if the walls of Starbucks are tagged with anti-gay slurs. We shall see if the Starbucks CEO telling supporters of natural marriage to go elsewhere even makes mainstream news.
And no, I’m not just writing this because I dislike coffee.