Starbucks Director Calls Out Salesman Over Sexist Email Comparing Women to Coffee: 'It Doesn't Seem Like Our Values Align'

A Starbucks executive has called out a salesperson over what he branded a "blatant example of sexism" after he received an email comparing women to a Starbucks coffee.

"Here's a blatant example of sexism in an email from a salesman this morning," Starbucks Director of Product Engineering David Brunelle wrote on Twitter before quoting the email.

"I can't help myself, what's your go-to order at Starbucks," the email read. "I like my women like I like my Starbucks order: Tall, Blonde, Americano..."

"Men: don't do this," Brunelle said, admonishing the sexist note.

Not only did Brunelle share the email, he also shared his eviscerating response.

"You lost me with this line: 'I like my women like I like my Starbucks Coffee order: Tall Blonde, Americano…' Tech can be a challenging place for women. Your statement perpetuates the mindset that women are here for our entertainment. I don't believe that to be true.

"This type of statement also makes a few dangerous assumptions:

  • That I'm heterosexual and will relate to the objectification of women
  • That I'm cisgender and haven't personally been objectified/alienated
  • That I'd feel comfortable objectifying women behind closed doors

"One of my company's values, that I am deeply committed to upholding is 'Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.' I'm also dedicated to increasing diversity in technology. In order to increase the number of women and minorities in this field, we need to foster an environment where everyone feels safe and supported."

Ultimately, Brunelle said: "It doesn't seem like our values align."

As his post began to attract thousands of "likes," the Starbucks executive pondered in a separate post: "How many times has this tactic worked? How many men received a similar email and ignored it, or worse, thought it was funny/harmless. Men: Call each other out. Don't normalize this type of behavior. Make sexists the ones who are alienated, not women."

A couple of hours after sharing his initial post, Brunelle then updated the Twitterverse that "after careful consideration" he had decided to share the salesperson's email with his company's CEO and Vice President of Sales.

"I suggested this person be given an opportunity to receive training and contribute to [diversity and inclusion] efforts vs. being punished," he said. "This type of attitude is just too problematic to brush off."

Asked by a Twitter user why he decided to tweet about the exchange, Brunelle said there were three reasons: "To demonstrate that folks from under-represented groups have allies… To show men that have yet to internalize the lesson yet [that] sexism/racism is not ok… To model what it looks like to hold each other accountable."

Newsweek has contacted Brunelle and Starbucks for further comment on the incident.

It comes following Starbucks' own efforts to address implicit bias within its own ranks after two black men were arrested at one of the coffee giant's chains in Philadelphia after simply asking to use the restroom.

The incident triggered widespread outrage across the country, to which Starbucks reacted swiftly, closing its U.S. shops for an afternoon to provide employees with implicit bias training.

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The Starbucks logo is displayed in the window of a Starbucks Coffee shop on January 24, 2019 in San Francisco, California. A Starbucks executive has called out a salesperson for 'blatant' sexism in an email comparing women to coffee. Justin Sullivan/Getty
Starbucks Director Calls Out Salesman Over Sexist Email Comparing Women to Coffee: 'It Doesn't Seem Like Our Values Align' | U.S.