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Starbucks Controversies: A Look at Design Changes and Public Outcry

The Starbucks Christmas Cups Controversy: A Look at the Evolution of Designs and Removal of Holiday Illustrations

For many of us, the holiday season is a time to come together with loved ones and embrace the spirit of the season. One tradition that has become synonymous with the holidays is the Starbucks Christmas cups.

Every year, Starbucks introduces new designs on their cups, with intricate drawings, holiday-themed images, and festive colors. However, over the last few years, Starbucks has been the subject of a controversy that has taken over social media.

Evolution of Christmas Cups Designs

Starbucks launched its first Christmas cup in 1997. The cup featured a dancing snowman and the phrase, “Let’s Merry.” For the next few years, Starbucks continued to feature different festive designs, including reindeer, Christmas trees, and snowflakes.

In 2015, Starbucks released a simple, yet elegant design with a two-toned red and white cup. The cup included a subtle blend of red and green coloring in the Starbucks logo.

This design initiated the controversy surrounding Starbucks’ Christmas cups, with some people complaining about the lack of a more overt holiday theme.

Removal of Holiday Illustrations

In 2016, Starbucks introduced a green cup, featuring a collection of images of people around the world. The cup was designed to celebrate diversity and promote unity.

However, controversy arose when an Arizona pastor called for a boycott of Starbucks, claiming that the cups were “anti-Christmas.”

The following year, Starbucks featured a white cup with a hand-drawn image of two hands holding each other. The design was intended to celebrate “unity and kindness.” While some customers appreciated the message, others criticized the lack of traditional holiday illustrations.

The most recent Christmas cups design, released in 2019, features four different designs depicting Christmas scenes, including a Santa Claus and a Christmas tree. This design was a return to the original concept that Starbucks had been known for over the years.

Scott Baio’s Trump Cup

In 2016, a Starbucks barista in Florida refused to write “Trump” on a customer’s cup. The customer, a vocal supporter of President Trump, was outraged and accused the company of discrimination.

The incident quickly went viral on social media, spurring many people to boycott Starbucks altogether. In response to this controversy, actor Scott Baio created his own “Trump cup” that he was photographed drinking from.

Baio stated that his decision to create the cup was a response to discrimination against Trump supporters.

Barista Refusing to Write “Trump” on Cup

The controversy surrounding the Starbucks Trump Cup gained national attention, with many people taking sides on the matter.

In a situation such as this, the primary question surrounding the incident is whether the barista was within his rights to refuse to write “Trump” on the cup. Starbucks maintains that their company values are grounded in inclusivity and respect for all customers, regardless of political beliefs.

However, many people feel that the company has not done enough to address the issue of discrimination. Some people have even gone so far as to launch boycotts against the company.


In conclusion, the Starbucks Christmas cups controversy and the Trump Cup debate have generated a lot of buzz over the years. For some, these controversies are evidence of a larger societal problem of political correctness run amok, while for others, they represent a refusal to acknowledge the changing values of our society.

Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, it is clear that these issues will continue to shape our understanding of what is acceptable and unacceptable in our society today.

Starbucks Unity Cup Controversy and the Black Lives Matter Debate: Examining the Controversies

Starbucks is one of the largest coffee chains in the world, famous for its various beverages and festive cups that are released every holiday season.

However, over the years, Starbucks has been at the center of several controversies, including the Unity Cup Controversy and the Black Lives Matter Debate. In this article, we will examine these controversies in more detail.

Release of Unity Cups

In 2016, Starbucks released the Unity Cup, a green cup featuring an intricate design featuring a mosaic of more than a hundred people, including a peace dove and the word “unity” in different languages. The design was released during the presidential election, and Starbucks stated its intent was to “bring people together.”

However, the company’s intentions were questioned when some conservative groups accused the coffee giant of interfering in politics.

The design of the Unity Cups was criticized by some as leaning towards a liberal agenda, which was seen by several social media users as a cause to boycott the franchise.

Complaints of Interference in Politics

Critics of the Unity Cup design claimed that Starbucks was acting on its own behalf in the company’s political interests and pushing a liberal agenda. This accusation was refuted by Starbucks itself, with the company stating that the Unity cup was intended to promote political tolerance and unity of citizens of different ideologies in an election season that was polarizing the American society.

Despite this, people on both sides of the political aisle had different opinions about the Unity Cup. While some appreciated the message that Starbucks was trying to convey, others believed that it was a futile effort that had no place in the coffee industry.

Journalists Request to Have “Black Lives Matter” Written on Cup

The Black Lives Matter movement, which started in 2013, gained momentum in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota. In the aftermath of Floyd’s death, the movement got stronger, and several companies started showing solidarity with the movement.

Starbucks was among these companies, as it announced that it would allow Black Lives Matter t-shirts and pins to be worn by Starbucks employees while at work. However, when a group of journalists requested that Starbucks baristas write “Black Lives Matter” on a customer’s cup, the request was denied.

The journalists claimed that this was an act of racism, while Starbucks argued that the directive was in line with their policy of not printing facial expressions or slang words on their cups.

Starbucks Response of Not Taking a Stand on Racial Matters

Starbucks is known for its corporate social responsibility campaigns and initiatives, although it has attracted criticism for its inability to take a stand on issues of race explicitly. Despite its commitment to creating a culture of inclusivity and diversity, the coffee chain has been criticized for its neutrality on some issues.

In response, Starbucks management announced several initiatives aimed at promoting inclusivity. The company’s decision to allow employees to wear Black Lives Matter paraphernalia on shift was indeed a step in the right direction, but some critics argued that Starbucks could do much more to promote real change and inclusivity.


In conclusion, Starbucks, like many other global brands, has had to deal with issues of politics and race. While the company has tried to maintain neutrality in these matters, it has experienced backlash and controversy on several occasions.

However, it is essential to note that the brand has made steps towards promoting inclusivity, albeit subtle changes. The coffee giant’s corporate social responsibility campaign is vast, as it tries to make a positive impact in local communities and beyond.

Starbucks Diabetes Cup Controversy, Race Together Cup Debacle, and Quotes on Cups Controversy: An Examination of Starbucks’ Controversies

Starbucks is no stranger to controversy. The global coffee giant has experienced a few challenges over the years, where their marketing campaigns and initiatives have generated public outrage.

In this article, we will explore the Diabetes Cup Controversy, Race Together Cup Debacle, and Quotes on Cups Controversy.

Diabetes Cup Controversy: Offensive Statement Incident

In 2013, a Starbucks customer, who also happened to be diabetic, experienced an offensive incident.

The customer ordered a drink and gave his name, which the barista jotted down on his cup as “Diabetes Here I Come.” The incident went viral on social media, with many people outraged at the barista’s insensitive choice of words. Starbucks management quickly responded to the backlash by issuing an apology.

In the statement, the company affirmed that it had strict policies against discrimination and that they would train their employees to prevent incidents like this from happening again.

Race Together Cup Controversy: Improving Race Relations Campaign

In 2015, Starbucks launched its Race Together campaign, an initiative aimed at facilitating dialogue on race between employees and customers.

The campaign involved having baristas write “Race Together” on more than 190,000 cups and also publishing full-page ads in USA Today, containing questions and articles related to race. However, the initiative received a negative reception from customers and on social media, with several consumers accusing Starbucks of overstepping its bounds.

Critics argued that the campaign was inappropriate for a coffee shop and could not effectively tackle the issue of racism in American society. The intense criticism led Starbucks to eventually end the campaign, with the company CEO, Howard Schultz, acknowledging that the campaign had not achieved its intended objective.

Quotes on Cups Controversy: Accusations of Promoting a Homosexual Agenda

In 2013, Starbucks began featuring cups with quotes from important historical and literary figures, ranging from Twelfth Night and Alice Walker to Elie Wiesel. However, Starbucks received criticism from conservative groups, such as the Concerned Women for America, who accused the coffee giant of promoting a homosexual agenda.

The quotes included were not explicitly related to LGBTQ+ issues, but some of the individuals quoted had previously made statements in support of LGBTQ+ rights. This led to calls to boycott Starbucks, and eventually, the company ceased the provision of cups with quotes.

In response, Starbucks reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the diversity of all its customers and that the company was not advocating for a particular political or social stance.


In conclusion, Starbucks has experienced its fair share of controversies over the years. These controversies are often tied to social, political, or racial issues and can generate negative reactions from customers and the public.

The incidents surrounding the Diabetes Cup Controversy, Race Together Cup Debacle, and Quotes on Cups Controversy shed light on the challenges faced by companies, especially those that operate globally. It is essential for companies to ensure that their messaging, campaigns, and initiatives are inclusive and not perceived to promote any political or social stance.

In conclusion, Starbucks has faced several controversies over the years, including the Diabetes Cup Controversy, Race Together Cup Debacle, and Quotes on Cups Controversy. These incidents highlight the challenges that global companies face when navigating sensitive social, political, and racial issues.

It is crucial for companies to carefully consider the potential impact of their marketing campaigns and initiatives to avoid unintended offense or backlash. The controversies surrounding Starbucks remind us of the importance of inclusivity, sensitivity, and open dialogue in today’s diverse society.

By listening to customer feedback and taking proactive steps to prevent future incidents, companies can foster a more inclusive and respectful environment for all.

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