Starbucks updates policy on Black Lives Matter apparel following backlash

SEATTLE - Starbucks has announced that it will be allowing its employees to express their support for Black Lives Matter following backlash over a company memo that reportedly prohibited its team members from wearing clothing or apparel that advocated for the movement.

“As we talked about earlier this week, we’re designing new t-shirts with the graphic below to demonstrate our allyship and show we stand together in unity,” wrote Roz Brewer, the COO of Starbucks, and Zing Shaw, Starbucks’ vice president for inclusion and diversity, in an open letter to partners published on Friday.

“Until these arrive, we’ve heard you want to show your support, so just be you. Wear your BLM pin or t-shirt,” the letter continued. “We are so proud of your passionate support of our common humanity. We trust you to do what’s right while never forgetting Starbucks is a welcoming third place where all are treated with dignity and respect.”

Backlash against the coffee chain began brewing earlier this week, after Starbucks reportedly sent a memo to employees that outlined the store’s policy against wearing Black Lives Matter-related apparel in the workplace, according to Buzzfeed News.