It's one thing to stick to one's beliefs, but it's another thing to allow those beliefs to cross the line and become zealotry. It appears Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz crossed that line during the annual Starbucks shareholder meeting in 2013, mixing his belief system with business.
Schultz, whose Starbucks chain is known for being accommodating toward the LGBT community, declared that anyone who buys coffee at the chain that supports traditional marriage over gay marriage can go elsewhere since their business isn't wanted at Starbucks, according to American Overlook.
This sentiment appeared to be directed toward shareholders as well.
During the meeting Tom Strobhar, founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center and Starbucks shareholder, pointed out to Schultz that when Starbucks backed gay marriage in Washington state, sales dropped after it was boycotted by traditional marriage supporters, according to Your Daily Dose of Conservatism. Schultz responded that the decision to support gay marriage "was not an economic decision to me. 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. Of all kinds."
"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," Schultz concluded to applause from the audience, according to the Huffington Post.
While making a definitive stance on the subject and sending a message to customers saying that the company embraces diversity, Schultz wound up ignoring part of what "embracing diversity" is all about: accepting people who have a different point of view.