Starbucks investors want the company to avoid ending up in hot water over President Trump controversy

Lian Parsons
Chief executive Howard Schultz may cause investors a latte problems (Source: Getty Images )

A group of conservative Starbucks investors are warning the coffee company against provoking Donald Trump, which could cause an angry tweet and a drop in stock prices.

The investors met Wednesday to discuss Starbucks “liberal political stances and attacks on President Donald Trump,” according to the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank and Starbucks shareholder.

Read more: Starbucks to hire 10,000 refugees in response to Trump's Muslim travel ban

This meeting comes on the coattails of the coffee giant’s pledge to hire 10,000 refugees in worldwide stores following Trump’s travel ban from Muslim-majority countries in January. The pledge sparked the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks on Twitter.

After chief executive Howard Schultz announced this commitment, consumer perception levels fell to 24 per cent in about two weeks, according to YouGov.

Past controversies have included Starbucks’ support of the US Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling, the red holiday cups sans Christmas decorations that some customers called a “war on Christmas” with further threats of boycotts and a 2015 initiative “Race Together” which encouraged customers to engage in discussions about racial issues.

Other companies including Lockheed Martin have felt the impact of a pointed tweet from Trump. Last December, he criticised Lockheed’s F-35 fighter jets and hedge funds rapidly sold their shares.

It seems Starbucks investors wants to avoid a similar fate.

General counsel and FEP director of the NCPPR Justin Danhof said:

“Coffee has no political allegiance, but Starbucks under Schultz’ leadership has been unwavering in its support of liberal causes to the detriment of its brand and shareholder value.”

Schultz is leaving his position next month however, succeeded by current chief operating officer Kevin Johnson.

Starbucks shares are up about 1.6 per cent since Trump’s election.

Read more: Starbucks' chief executive is stepping down

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