Starbucks CEO Tells Anti-Gay Marriage Shareholder To Take His Shares And Shove It
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told one investor he could take his shares and go elsewhere if he has a problem with the company’s support of gay marriage equality. At the company’s annual meeting in Seattle last week, shareholder Tom Strohbar commented on the company’s earnings in the quarter since the National Organization for Marriage boycotted the coffee giant. Schultz had no intentions of entertaining Stobhar’s implications.
“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country” Schultz told the founder of Corporate Morality Action Center, an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage group. “You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thanks you very much.”
Schultz feels the company’s support of liberal causes is not about economics, but about supporting its people.
“We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity,” Schultz said to applause at the meeting.
It’s doubtful that Strohbar has the balls to put his money where his mouth is and sell, and he’ll probably be around to bitch at next year’s shareholder’s meeting. Last year he asked Schultz to stop endorsing liberal issues because they were bad for business. But it’s obviously a personal issue. Strobhar also chairs Life Decisions International, a non-profit that has been opposing Planned Parenthood for more than 20 years. According to his Web site, he is against corporate involvement in gay marriage, abortion and pornography and has fought against Microsoft and Pfizer. Yet he still holds shares at Starbucks, which endorsed a Washington state bill to legalize gay marriage that later became law. The move led to NOM’s boycott of the chain.
Guys like Strohbar need to wake up and smell the coffee. American attitudes are changing and Starbucks has aligned itself with the majority. Last week, a Washington Post poll found 58 percent of Americans now support gay marriage, and only 36 percent oppose it.