Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has made it clear that his company supports same-sex marriage, and at the coffee titan's annual meeting in Seattle, he had a heated exchange with a shareholder who criticized that stance, Gabriel Spitzer at KPLU reported.
It stemmed from the National Organization for Marriage's decision to boycott Starbucks after the company endorsed a same-sex marriage bill in Washington state.
He said that it affected Starbucks' bottom line.
“In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” said Strobhar.
Schultz reportedly bristled, and said that it was about respecting diversity, not the bottom line.
"It is not an economic decision," he said. " The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity."
The crowd cheered and applauded.
Then, the CEO fired a broadside.
“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much,” said Schultz.
Watch the video of Schultz's response below — from the Puget Sound Business Journal:
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