Worldwide coffee chain Starbucks is seeing a growing number of its customers using Twitter to bemoan a change to its seasonal takeaway cups.
The company’s iconic red cups debuted in 1997, and each year since have featured a different Christmas-themed design, including reindeer, snowflakes and trees. However, this year’s design is a much more sombre affair, and although still a festive red, it is devoid of any of the traditional imagery or greetings associated with the holiday.
This has prompted coffee lovers to denounce the chain as waging a “war on Christmas”, and some high profile celebrities are even weighing in on the argument.
Businessman, reality TV star and presidential hopeful Donald Trump raised the issue during a political rally at Illinois on October 9th, saying:
“No more ‘Merry Christmas’ at Starbucks. No More.
“Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don’t know. Seriously. I don’t care. By the way: that’s the end of that lease. But who cares? Who cares? Who cares?”
Spearheading the call for a boycott on social media was actor Rob Lowe, who tweeted:
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) November 10, 2015
Over on Facebook, TV evangelist Joshua Feuerstein told his 1.8 million followers to ask baristas to write ‘Merry Christmas’ on their cups instead of their names, adding:
“Starbucks revoked Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus.”
Starbucks isn’t taking the accusations lying down. It’s VP of Design and Content, Jeffrey Fields, explained that while in the past the company has told stories using its cups, this year it wanted a “purity of design” that was welcoming to stories from all of its customers.
Twitter user @rudepundit leaped to the company’s defence, pointing out that not every product it sold had ditched the word:
Hey, Christians raging over Starbucks' red cup, here's their 2015 Christmas Blend coffee. Not holiday: pic.twitter.com/SJ6im7aak5
— The Rude Pundit (@rudepundit) November 9, 2015
Mr. Fields stated:
“Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays. We’re embracing the simplicity and quietness of it.”