Gay Couple's Account of 'Homophobic Rant' Witnessed at LI Starbucks
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« on: June 16, 2011, 05:36:33 pm »

Starbucks is investigating an employee termination at its Centereach store after a Springs couple witnessed the "homophobic rant" directed at a gay employee and wrote about it in their blog.

Their account has gone viral.

The couple, Missy and Dana Alison, who live in East Hampton Town, say they were running errands with their 3-year-old daughter Lily on Sunday afternoon in Centereach, about 60 miles from their home, when they witnessed a manager in the Starbucks store on Middle Country Road scold the employee in front of his peers.

In an open letter to Starbucks, which was posted on Dana's blog, Missy wrote, "I saw one of the most brazen and unapologetic displays of homophobia I have ever witnessed in my entire life."

The post recounts the manager reproaching Jeffery for doing things like talking about his politics or partners while he is in the store, a discussion that ended with Jeffery leaving the store being forced out of his a job. The post has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter, and has been read more than 15,000 times.

Starbucks said Jeffrey was not fired, but rather voluntarily turned in his keys.

In response to the account, Starbucks has publicly said in its own corporate blog that it will investigate the incident.

"We are disheartened by the allegations reported in an East Coast Starbucks store and are taking immediate measures to investigate and take any steps necessary to make this right. The actions reported do not correspond with our values, who we are as a company or the beliefs we try to instill in our partners," the company said.

"They are taking this seriously," Missy said.

In the end, all Missy said she wanted was for Starbucks to be aware there was a problem.

"I just want this made right. If nothing else, I want to know that there's not a black mark on Jeffrey's work record."

She said she was a bit overwhelmed by the attention her letter has received. "We're really average," she said with a laugh about her and her wife. "We're not on a soap box, we don't really attend rallies, we don't have a rainbow-anything," she said.

She's not confrontational about their lifestyle, she said. "Maybe it's a lesson. You don't have to be aggressive to be in their faces to change their minds about things."

Dana said she's proud of her wife's actions. "We just did what anybody should have done, and what I hope someone else would do if it were my wife or my daughter in Jeffrey's seat that day.  People need to look out for each other," she said.

"I am just amazed at the reactions and attention this has gotten," Dana said. "The power of the internet is amazing; it holds everyone accountable for their actions."

As for Jeffrey, according to a post on Dana’s blog Wednesday morning, he’s planning to take legal action against the company.


« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2011, 05:39:36 pm »

Missy's Letter

Dear Starbucks,

I am writing this letter to you as a loyal customer with concerns.  I know probably 90% of the letters you receive trying to solicit something from you probably start the same way, but this is different. When I say, I am a loyal customer I mean you have had me for the better part of my adult life, hook, line and sinker. I will spend the extra $2.50 for a cup of your coffee. When I worked in Hoboken I would walk an extra three blocks for your coffee, walking past a Dunkin Donuts, Panera, Macdonalds and two bodegas to purchase from you. Every morning I drink my coffee out of one of your ceramic mugs and I have for years. A dozen of them line my shelves, (even the poorly conceived “Father’s Day” argyle mugs from 2005 that have metal bottoms which means I can’t pop it in the microwave to reheat)  I only buy Starbucks for my home consuption. When you roll out a new product, I flock to your nearest location like a moth to a flame.  I mourned the loss of the Chantico and I even rushed out to try that banana mocha abomination (a match made in hell) blindly following your suggestions like a lemming. I know, and speak your “lingo” that grates on me like nails on a chalk board and is sometimes so complicated I feel like I speak a second language. I even, as much as I am ashamed to admit it, buy most of the adult contemporary CDs you peddle in the front of the store. By the time I reach the front of the line somehow the newest James Taylor CD or whatever swing jazz collection you put together seems like something I can no longer live without.  I am your disciple. I am part of the Starbucks machine. I am your dream customer because whatever your company puts into the market, I have and I would have continued to buy.  I never felt bad about my commitment to your chain either because I felt like you were a company that was ethically sound.  Your commitment to free trade, The Starbucks Charitable Foundation, your appearance as a diverse work environment. These are all things that I as a customer felt good about. I felt like I was supporting a company that although huge, I felt you were doing your best to “do good” and leave a positive mark on the world.

That was the case, until yesterday.
Which is why I am writing to you today.
The sentiments above, about me being a loyal customer were not written to solicit anything from you. I do not want free coffee or a refund. I ask, as a loyal customer for the past 15 years that I have your attention. Your time and consideration.

Yesterday when I walked into your  Centereach, Long Island  location  I saw one of the most brazen and unapologetic displays of homophobia I have ever witnessed in my entire life.  What was most concerning about it was it was perpetuated by not one, not two but THREE of your employees and it was directed towards a fourth employee.  I don’t know this man, but I know his name is Jeffrey because the woman (who seemed to be in charge of this circus)  loudly scolded, spoke to in a condescending manner, humiliated, and then let go.  In the middle of your store. Two feet away from my table.   Then when Jeffrey, who was visibly shaken went to the bathroom to collect him self, the women at the table went on a long, ranting homophobic rant that lasted about five minutes. This rant transpired two feet away from my table where I sat with my daughter. A three year old child, with two mothers. I have never, in my entire life seem such a gross and unapologetic display of ignorance and intolerance. The most horrific aspect of it was that it was by someone that your corporation put into a position of power.  I have never, ever in ANY context seen ANYTHING so unprofessional in my entire life.  I was horrified that my daughter was exposed to that.

The whole incident spanned about 15-20 minuets. It looked like it was a sit down discussion about something that had happened in the store, an earlier problem.  What that was, I couldn’t be certain. I do know however, the fact that Jeffery’s sexuality was brought into the conversation (and it obviously was for me to know about it) is inappropriate. The woman (Who I will refer to going forward as the “Manager” although she may have been someone from Human Resources) spoke to him in a sharp condescending manner. She told him that they were not interested in his politics or beliefs and his thoughts were down right offensive to his co-workers. They did not want to hear about his personal life. When Jeffrey pointed out that they ALL talked about their personal lives (during the course of the conversation I learned that the manager had a daughter that went to tennis camp and another one of the women had a birthday coming up so the irony and the hypocrisy of that statement was mind blowing.) That his beliefs were not welcome at Starbucks.  She went on, an on and on talking about leadership building workshops where she learned to “Keep it to herself”  (again I will remind you of tennis camp). She was even so condescending to tell him,

“It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but ten years from now you will thank me for this…”

For what? For for letting him go for speaking about his personal life? For learning to put up with bigotry in the work place?

She kept reminding him, “You are not fired but….” as if to say, you are not fired but you are really not welcome here anymore. I assume this was a clever HR move so he would not be able to collect unemployment. He told her that he felt like he was being FORCED to leave because he felt like the “problems” at that location were not being addressed and the workplace had turned into a hostile environment.  She in turn told him that if he was not, “Part of the solution, he was the problem.”and his two weeks notice would not be needed. He asked if he would be marked by the corporation as “un-hireable”

She smugly looked at him and said,

“Well I don’t know. It’s not looking good for you.”

Basically threatening his professional future.

Know, I am not going to swear by what the original confrontation was. I only heard bits and pieces, but I know that worker was attacked and humiliated on the middle of your shop floor. I don’t care what his offense was, that sort of business should be conducted in a back room. I also know, the “manager” was not willing to listen to him and personally attacked him several times with snide, condescending comments. Telling him, in the subtext of her words that he was “Less than” and his personal belief system was no longer welcome at the shop.

The event got more horrific, when he, who had kept his composure through the entire incident, not once raising his voice despite being attacked, got up from the table to go to the bathroom to cry in private.

Then the three women turned on him like Vultures.

“I’m done. I’m done. Nobody wants to hear it anymore.  I don’t care who he is dating. I don’t want to hear about it.”

“He should not get upset at the things people say to him. He should be used to it. It’s not like he turned gay yesterday.”

“I used to listen to it, now I’m just sick of hearing about it.”

“Nobody does, but it’s over now. You won’t have to hear about it anymore.”

It went on, and on and on.

The focus of their discussion then when he left the table, was not about an incident that occurred in the previous days.  It was about how they were intolerant to his lifestyle, nobody wanted to hear about the fact that he was gay, they didn’t want to be exposed to that.  The focus was not about his poor performance as an employee but their intolerance towards him as a person.  I  sat at there at my  table with the impression that,

This man, this Starbucks employee was losing his job, because he was gay.

Whether that was the case or not.  Whatever Jeffrey’s offense might have been… that is how one of your loyal customers perceived the events as they transpired based on the actions and the statements of your “manager”.  She was bigoted, intolerant, insensitive and no matter how upset she was at Jeffrey, her comments and sentiments should not have been overheard by one of your customers, gay or not.

So I guess the biggest irony is, that nobody in the Starbucks that afternoon wanted to hear her politics, the very thing she was scolding Jeffrey for.

When Jeffrey returned from the bathroom she asked him for his keys. She was pretending to be sensitive and offered him her card if he needed to talk.  Which disgusted me because, she was anything but concerned for his well being.

I followed Jeffery out of the store horrified by what I had just witnessed.
I said to him, “That was unreal. That was “bullshit” and I was so sorry.
He walked away at first, then he approached me and said, “Thank you.”
I hugged him and he said,

“I came to this company because I thought it was supposed to be better. I thought that it was a positive and tolerant work place to work. I was passed over for promotions, they hired from the outside, I fought against their vendetta. I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t have a chance here.”

I hugged him again.
Disgusted that something so ugly, so cruel could happen in this day in age in America and that the perpetrator was basically patting herself on the back. Not caring that she had not only destroyed this man’s life, but that she also humiliated him and threatened his future.   She was going to sleep soundly that night. She was going to get away with her gross display of how disgusting one human can be to another if they have a position of power and slap a fake smile across their face.

I walked away from Jeffrey and I started to cry.  At how cruel we can still be to each other. How awful I felt for him. I strapped my daughter into her car seat and I thought about how in this society we are so self congratulating as we scream to the rafters promising our children,

“It gets better!”

I found myself wondering, “Better than what?”
What I saw on that Starbucks floor was pretty awful.

I have had friends tell me, to boycott. I have had other friends tell me that Starbucks is a positive and tolerant corporation. The latter has always been my impression.  I don’t think this is how Starbucks wants themselves represented.  However, I think you should be aware of the people who you currently have representing you and the way they are doing it.  I am hoping by bringing this to your attention, you will do the right thing. As you can tell by the tone of my letter I am not a political activist. I am not militant and I do not have an axe to grind nor am I looking for a soap box. I’m pretty boring to be quite honest with you.  I do not even march in pride parades and I swear I own not a single thing that has a rainbow on it. I don’t celebrate my diversity, That’s simply not the type of person that I am. In fact, I’m more the type to wallow in how mediocre I am.  I am an average American who just so happens to be gay. I live my life, I raise my family and I hope to also leave a mark on this world that is positive.  I do not like seeing anyone hurt, abused and degraded. I know that should go without saying, a sentiment akin to “All babies should be fed.” but after yesterday, and what I witnessed, I feel like it has to be said.

I want to still be able to walk into a Starbucks with my head held high. I want to drink your drinks, speak your code and even buy your newest record releases, even though they make me feel middle aged and unhip… and feel good about it.

I want you to restore my faith that you are the company I always thought you were.
Please don’t let this incident go unnoticed. Do something, anything you can to make this right. Please protect your (former) employee. Take a step, and take action to protect basic human dignity. To protect equal rights and equality. Please do something.  I don’t want you to lose my business forever.

A loyal customer,
Missy Alison
631- xxx-xxxx


« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2011, 06:26:13 pm »

WOW! It's pretty sad as to how things can go down at this day and age. I know for sure I won't ever go to a StarBucks now that I've seen this. I hope the "manager" gets what is coming to her and real fast.

The only difference between martyrdom and suicide is press coverage!

"Education is all we have left when we have forgotten everything we learned in school." -- Albert Einstein

« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2011, 06:38:45 pm »

sigh... i hope the manager learns his lesson.  doesn't matter if he doesn't get fired, but he should at least make a public apology

I believe in the promise of each sunrise.

« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2011, 08:29:50 pm »

the thing is with these kinds of incidents is that people just stop buying Starbucks. They don't let you know, they just stop buying. For how long that depends on the individual.
I'll be reporting this to my partner when he gets home. And when I'm in town tomorrow, on business, I won't be stopping for our regular Starbucks to take home. And I won't be stopping until further notice. I thankfully have Second Cup and Timmies to fall back on for coffee demands Wink. Companies are well-enough equipped these days than to let this go out of hand. Especially when they're a luxury service industry with many competitors in which the buyer can choose to shop elsewhere easily. Bad move. I'll put this on my shareholder's coffee Group as an alert.

« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 08:33:02 pm by (Hidden) » Logged


« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2011, 10:51:22 pm »

Part of why I'm glad I've been a "Timmy's Hoe" as it were because I'm addicted to my THC (Tim Hortons Coffee). I've never found the price at Starbucks to be worth what you get for it.

The only difference between martyrdom and suicide is press coverage!

"Education is all we have left when we have forgotten everything we learned in school." -- Albert Einstein

« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2011, 08:45:02 pm »

I've never found the price at Starbucks to be worth what you get for it.

thank you.....Starbucks is like the 'McDonalds' of coffeeshops, and yet unlike McDonalds, people dont mind paying extra for this crap. If Mcdonalds charged $10 for a hamburger, people would die. But $6 for something that barely passes for 'coffee' ? No prob!


The speed of light (3×108 m/s) from Earth to the Moon, in real time

« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2011, 10:03:27 pm »

Before the several price increases in the last few years, if you bought the equivalent of a Tim Horton's XL and paid with a $5 bill, you got a nickle back. For those that don't know, a nickle is $0.05. This was the reason for the band name "Nickleback". The funny thing is though that at a place like Tim Hortons, you can get that same size coffee for the CURRENT price in the same province in Ontario for only $1.80... See where I'm going with this? Same amount of coffee, only it's $1.80 VS $4.95. That's what I call a rip off.

The only difference between martyrdom and suicide is press coverage!

"Education is all we have left when we have forgotten everything we learned in school." -- Albert Einstein

« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2011, 03:14:40 pm »

There are always some bad seeds in management in large chains such as Starbucks, and many more bad seed co-workers. I'm fairly certain Starbucks will do what is right.

On their home city;
The people who live here are smart and interesting. We’re mad for books (just check out our amazing library!); Seattle is ranked as one of the nation’s most literate cities. We also appreciate great food, and the city has a variety of amazing restaurants. The city’s demographics show that we’re a diverse lot – and we appreciate that diversity. Seattle is second only to San Francisco in the percentage of residents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).


On the same page above in the benefits section they list "Domestic partner benefits" as a benefit.

Starbucks Pride Alliance provides an equitable, dynamic and supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender(LGBT) partners.


The manager at the Starbucks closest to my house is an out Lesbian. Smiley The pink triangle tattoo on her calf, butch haircut and clothes are subtle "clues". Tongue

Maybe Jeffery will be the new manager at that store after all 3 of those bitches get fired,  that would be fair. Smiley

Anyhow, I've been going to Dutch Bros since one opened here. Smiley


« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2017, 12:14:55 pm »

WOW! It's pretty sad as to how things can go down at this day and age. I know for sure I won't ever go to a StarBucks now that I've seen this. I hope the "manager" gets what is coming to her and real fast.

This is the day and age for crap like this. The Golden Age is over, we are in the new Dark Ages. The current dictator, through his simple presence in the oval office, emboldens bigots to express their hatred openly. They wanted to "Take their country back" ever since a black guy won the presidency, and they have. We just have to survive until the moron gets impeached and moves to Russia; which hopefully will be soon.

As for Starbucks, don't blame them. They are a progressive company. They can't control every single manager. They can just fire them after the fact.

OK, you can blame them for selling overpriced coffee. Smiley



« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2017, 12:56:36 am »

Considering it is Starbuck's, unsurprised. The place exists to exploit hipsters willing to overpay for coffee.

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