Despite sending out a message through their social media channels in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Starbucks has banned all of their employees from wearing any clothing or accessories in support of the organization. Like many major corporations, Starbucks recently stood in solidarity with BLM by sharing a message on social media about their commitment to change the landscape of racism in the United States. "Black lives matter," the company tweeted last Thursday (June 4th). "We are committed to being a part of change."

However, according to an internal memo sent to all staff, Starbucks has forbidden employees from wearing T-shirts, pins, or anything that makes any mention of Black Lives Matter. In the memo, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News, the company acknowledges that some of their employees have been inquiring about wearing BLM gear at work. They reiterate that their dress code policy states that employees may wear a pin or button that “identifies [their] support for a particular labor organization” unless “it interferes with Starbucks public image” or “advocates a political, religious, or personal issue.”

black lives matter starbucks employees ban support politics incite riotsJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

They specifically state that "clothing and accessories highlighting Black Lives Matter do not currently adhere to policy” because “there are agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles of the Black Lives Matter movement - and in certain circumstances, intentionally repurpose them to amplify divisiveness.” In short, garments and accessories supporting BLM could incite violence if its message is misconstrued, Starbucks says.

black lives matter starbucks employees ban support politics incite riotsJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Many employees were upset and confused by this bulletin, especially since Starbucks allows and often encourages them to wear pins in support of causes like LGBTQ+ rights. “Starbucks LGBTQ+ partners wear LGBTQ+ pins and shirts, that also could incite and create violent experiences amongst partners and customers,” a Black transgender Starbucks employee told BuzzFeed. “We have partners who experienced harassment and transphobia/homophobia for wearing their pins and shirts, and Starbucks still stands behind them.”

A spokesperson from Starbucks backed the memo's authenticity, and indicated that, "we respect all of our partners’ opinions and beliefs, and encourage them to bring their whole selves to work while adhering to our dress code policy."