Starbucks Red Holiday Cup Controversy
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Starbucks Red Holiday Cup Controversy refers to the backlash directed toward the Starbucks coffee company for their 2015 red holiday cup design, which some Christians found offensive for not including traditional Christmas imagery.
On November 1st, 2015, Starbucks unveiled their new solid red holiday cup design (shown below).
On November 5th, Christian vlogger Joshua Feuerstein posted a video to Facebook asking viewers to provide the name "Merry Christmas" to Starbucks baristas and to post the results online with the hashtag "#MerryChristmasStarbucks" (shown below). Within five days, the video gained over 500,000 shares, 178,000 likes and 51,900 comments. The same day, the conservative news site Breitbart published an article titled "War on Christmas: Starbucks Red Cups Are Emblematic of the Christian Cleansing of the West."
Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus … SO I PRANKED THEM … and they HATE IT!!!! #shareUse #MERRYCHRISTMASSTARBUCKSFollow --> Joshua FeuersteinPosted by Joshua Feuerstein on Thursday, November 5, 2015
On November 8th, Starbucks released a statement about the cup design, claiming it was created to provide a "blank canvas" for customers to doodle on.
On November 9th, Twitter user @JamilahLemieux posted photographs of the Starbucks cup with a cutout of Ben Carson's Jesus painting pasted on the side (shown below, left). Within 24 hours, the tweet gained over 2,300 likes and 1,800 retweets. Meanwhile, other Twitter users began mocking the backlash in containing the hashtag #ItsJustACup (shown below, middle, right).
Also on November 9th, actor Rob Lowe tweeted his disapproval of the design along with the company's "#RaceTogether" campaign (shown below).
Donald Trump's Response
During a campaign rally in Illinois on November 9th, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump flippantly proposed a boycott of Starbucks over the cup design:
"I have one of the most successful Starbucks, in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don't know. Seriously. I don't care. By the way: That's the end of that lease. But who cares? Who cares? Who cares?"
News Media Coverage
On November 9th, CNN broadcast a segment on the cups featuring an interview with Feuerstein, in which he explained his criticism of the cup design (shown below). The following day, the video reached the front page of the /r/cringe subreddit, where it gathered more than 1,300 votes (91% upvoted) and 330 comments within 14 hours. In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the controversy, including CNBC, The New York Times, Forbes and The Atlantic.
Green "Unity" Cup Backlash
On November 1st, 2016, Starbucks introduced a new cup. The cup, which is green and features a drawing of hundreds of different kinds of people linked by one continuous line, is meant to symbolize unity. "During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other," said CEO Howard Schultz.
The cup drew social media backlash, as conservatives accused Starbucks of attempting to push a liberal agenda, while others were upset that the cup, which they interpreted as a "holiday"-themed cup despite no indication of that from Starbucks, did not feature any mention of Christmas. The story drew the attention of Buzzfeed, NBC, Fox News, and more.
 Facebook – Joshua Feuerstein
 Starbucks – The Story Behind the Design of Starbucks Red Holiday Cups for 2015
 Starbucks – Starbucks Holiday Beverages Return with Red Cups
 Breitbart – War on Christmas
 Twitter – JamilahLemieux
 Twitter – @LordCheeses
 Twitter – @Right2Liberty
 Reddit – Evangelical activist behind the Starbucks Hates Jesus campaign
 CNBC – Starbucks holiday red cup brews controversy on social media
 The New York Times – Starbuckss Red Holiday Cups Inspire Outcry Online
 Forbes – Heres Why The Drama Over Red Holiday Cups Is A Win For Starbucks
 The Atlantic – The Inanity of the Starbucks Christmas Cup
 NBC – Starbucks' New 'Unity' Cup Draws Fire Ahead of Election
 Buzzfeed – People Are Really Mad Over Starbucks Cups Again Right Before The Holidays
 Fox News – Starbucks green ‘holiday’ cup already drawing mixed reactions
Paulie DeMafia Mk2
Nov 10, 2015 at 04:38PM EST
Nov 10, 2015 at 05:33PM EST
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