The 2017 holiday cup from Starbucks (Courtesy of Starbucks Corp.)
NEW YORK - In recent years, holiday-themed cups from Starbucks have generated controversy among some conservatives and Christians and this year appears no different.
Starbucks' newest holiday cups are getting second looks after a BuzzFeed article suggested that they might be "gay." The cups feature a busy print of holiday favorites like mittens, presents and Christmas trees, and above the logo, two unseen people are holding hands.
Since the cups launched in October, however, people have taken to Twitter with hypotheses that the androgynous hands may belong to a pair of lesbians.
The idea may have sprung up from a video campaign Starbucks launched, advertising the return of the holiday cups. In the video, two women are seen standing at a table holding hands. The campaign claims, "The holidays mean something different for everyone."
As expected, the reaction on social media ranged from praise to outrage. Some Twitter users objecting to the cups used the hashtag #boycottstarbucks.
Twitter user The Truth Ninja said: "Enjoy your Starbucks with yet another dig at traditional values. Jobs to refugees, Christmas without Christ. Shades of grey with every sip. I just want some coffee I can drink without choking on someone else's opinion. #BoycottStarbucks"
"The 2017 design echoes themes from cups of years past with intimate moments connected by swirls of red and white," Starbucks communications manager Heidi Peiper wrote in a company post. "But this time the coloring book inspired design leaves room for customers to add their own color."
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation scored Starbucks 100 out of 100 on its 2018 Corporate Equality Index, which measures corporate policies and practices related LGBTQ workplace equality.