If I could offer one piece of advice to liberal business owners, it would be this – keep your mouths shut. It’s not that I don’t support free speech, I do. But it appears that time and time again, whenever left wing CEOs or business owners publicly engage in political discourse, the consequences are nothing but detrimental.
In response to Donald Trumps “hateful,” “bigoted,” and “intolerant” travel ban (note my sarcasm), Starbucks has announced that it will make a concerted effort to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years. CEO Howard Schultz explained in a letter to employees that the company would begin to focus on hiring immigrants “who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel.” Additionally, the letter announced that Starbucks would be looking for ways it can counter other items on President Trump’s agenda, including supporting coffee growers in Mexico, providing health insurance to workers that are eligible should the Affordable Care Act be repealed, and offering full support of Obama’s DACA program. (RELATED: Does Starbucks hate America?)
Not surprisingly, Howard Schultz was a Clinton supporter. Also not surprisingly, Starbucks is now beginning to receive backlash from the American people.
According to YouGov BrandIndex, Starbuck’s consumer perception levels have plummeted by two-thirds since late January. The perception tracker works by asking respondents if they have “heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth,” and whether that news was positive or negative. To be fair, the overall perception of the coffee giant is still relatively positive, but notably lower than it was before the CEO’s letter went out.
YouGov indicated that prior to the announcement to hire refugees, 30% of consumers said that they would choose Starbucks the next time they wanted to buy coffee. That number has since dropped to 24%.
Some even threatened to boycott. One Facebook user wrote on Starbuck’s Facebook page, “Upon hearing about your decision to hire 10,000 refugees instead of Americans, I will no longer spend money at Starbucks.” Another wrote, “I am not buying your product anymore. I am [a] United States Veteran.”
Still, CEO Howard Schultz saw things differently, writing in his letter “we are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question.”
This certainly wasn’t the first time that a business shot itself in the foot by taking a left of center position. In April of last year, Target announced that their stores would allow transgenders to use the bathrooms of their choice. “We certainly respect that there are a wide variety of perspectives and opinions,” Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said at the time. “As a company that firmly stands behind what it means to offer our team an inclusive place to work – and our guests an inclusive place to shop – we continue to believe that this is the right thing for Target.” (RELATED: See what other crazy stunts Target has pulled in order to remain relevant in today’s upside-down society.)
Well, “the right thing for Target” resulted in millions of people boycotting the department store giant, and a drop in the company’s stock market value by $1.5 billion.
More recently, Kellogg’s announced that it was pulling all of their advertising from Breitbart.com because of their pro-Trump position. After calls for a nationwide boycott swept across the Internet and social media, the company tried to convince the public that they weren’t negatively impacted. However, Kellogg’s sales forecast had sales in 2017 dropping by 2%. Additionally, the company is making plans to close down 39 distribution centers, potentially killing over 1000 jobs. (RELATED: Read more about how Breitbart started a nationwide boycott of Kellogg’s.)
Do you see the pattern here? When liberal businesses go public with their views, the results are almost always negative. The freedom of speech applies to everyone, but the freedom from retaliation is not something that is included in the United States Constitution.