Starbucks is in hot water after a customer witnessed what she calls “one of the most brazen and unapologetic displays of homophobia I have ever witnessed in my entire life” at one of its Long Island locations. Missy Alison wrote an open letter to the company, which her wife posted on their blog, describing how she witnessed a gay employee being dressed down in full view of everyone in the store. When the employee went to the bathroom to compose himself, the other employees allegedly went on “a long, ranting homophobic rant” about why they were sick of hearing about his homosexuality.
The employee ultimately handed over his keys and left, sans job. Gawker notes that the media were quick to imply the entire company is at fault (sample headline: “Patron: I Watched Starbucks Fire An Employee 2 Feet From Me For Being Gay.”), though Starbucks in general is known as an LGBTQ-friendly workplace. And the company was quick to respond, posting a letter this week noting that it is investigating the incident and is “committed to providing an inclusive, supportive, and safe work environment for everyone.” Starbucks even responded to individual tweeters, writes Lauri Apple on Gawker—overall, it’s doing a much better job at damage control than, say, McDonald’s.