Starbucks CEO said those protesting the company over Israel-Gaza conflict are misled by social media

Starbucks chief executive Laxman Narasimhan wants people to stop protesting the company over so-called false, online claims regarding the coffee corporation’s pro-Israel stance amid the Israel-Palestine conflict. “We see protestors influenced by misrepresentation on social media of what we stand for,” Narasimhan said in a letter to Starbucks employees and customers earlier this week.

“Cities around the world — including here in North America — have seen escalating protests. Many of our stores have experienced incidents of vandalism,” he said on Tuesday. “We have worked with local authorities to ensure our partners and customers are safe.”

The recent plea comes in the wake of Starbucks’ tensions with Starbucks Workers United, the union representing Starbucks baristas. In October, Starbucks sued Starbucks Workers United over a post the union made on X that said “Solidarity with Palestine” following the Oct. 7 attack. Starbucks claimed the post angered several of its loyal customers and tainted its reputation. Workers United countersued, saying Starbucks defamed the union by suggesting that it supports terrorism and violence.

There’s little evidence to prove that the boycotts along with employee strikes have impacted Starbucks financially. Regardless, the corporation has been hit hard these past few months. Starbucks lost over $11 billion in value this last quarter and unsuccessfully attempted to bounce back during Red Cup Day. The company has since seen its market share crash by 8.96 percent, which equates to a nearly $11 billion loss, the lowest Starbucks has experienced since 1992, according to Newsweek.

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