Every year Starbucks ushers in the holiday season by introducing their ‘red cup’, but this year’s design has sparked controversy as many are accusing the restaurant chain of “waging a war on Christmas.”
The company chose a more simplistic design for this year’s holiday cup opting for a simple two-toned red cup and foregoing the representation of any “symbols of the season” that they have used in previous years, such as reindeer and ornaments.
When the cups were originally released in late October, Starbucks vice president Jeffrey Fields said that the company “wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”
Former pastor Joshua Feuerstein, who calls himself a “social media personality”, released a video accusing Starbucks of removing “Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus.” The video went viral, receiving over 10 million views, sparking a campaign against the plain cups.
Feuerstein encouraged people to say “Merry Christmas” instead of their name when asked by the baristas, so that they would be forced to write it on the cup. He also encouraged people to use the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks to post photos to social media.
“I think Starbucks has gotten the message that the Christian majority in this country has awakened and are demanding that our voice be heard,” Feuerstein wrote.
In response to the video Starbucks released a statement on Sunday in which they clarified that their goal is “to create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity.”
The company insists the cup is intended to be a “blank canvas” which encourages “customers to tell their Christmas stories in their own way.”
Many of the video’s most popular comments point out that Starbucks still has gift cards with “Merry Christmas” written on them; and they still sells a “Christmas Blend” coffee. Thus the argument that Starbucks has “removed Christmas” from their franchise is far from valid.