Starbucks Board of Directors Opposes Viewpoint Diversity

Far-Left Coffee Giant Votes to Remain Liberal Enclave


Seattle, WA/Washington, D.C. – Starbucks shareholders followed the board’s advice and yesterday rejected a shareholder proposal seeking inclusion of conservatives within the coffee giant’s board of directors.

The vote occurred at the annual meeting of Starbucks investors, held at the WaMu Theater in Seattle, Washington, in response to a shareholder resolution submitted by the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP).

Justin Danhof

Justin Danhof, Esq.

“Starbucks continues to be a company that virtue signals and caters to a far-left clientele,” said National Center General Counsel and FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq., the author of the resolution. “This small-minded thinking limits the company’s potential customer base. Our proposal offered Starbucks leaders an opportunity to expand their thinking and appeal to a broader contingency. That would have been a win for its investors. And it’s sad that Starbucks refused to engage with us to protect long-term shareholders.”

At the meeting, Danhof stated:

Across corporate America, company after company is adopting board diversity policies based on race and gender. These procedures have the stated goal of reducing corporate groupthink and require companies to interview an underrepresented minority and a woman for each open board spot. This isn’t diversity. It’s racism and sexism. Not all women think alike based on the fact that they are women. Similarly, not all Asian or Latino or black Americans think the same based on their respective skin color.

Rather than promote racism and sexism, we urge the company to consider viewpoint diversity when it makes its board selections. Through the years, especially under its former CEO Howard Schultz, Starbucks has earned a well-worn reputation for being a left-of-center corporation. Under Schultz, the company staked leftist positions on immigration, religious liberty, climate change and marriage, and had a dicey relationship with racial issues. Interestingly, now that he is considering a presidential run, Schultz has been met with scorn by the leftists whom he supported and promoted for years, since he is a billionaire who made his money from that scary “C” word – capitalism. Many of today’s liberals prefer socialism, in which government takes control of industry and regulates capitalism out of existence. How many of you here would prefer government-run coffee over Starbucks? I bet most of you would prefer Starbucks.

Danhof’s full statement, as prepared for delivery, is available here.

Video of Danhof’s presentation is available here.

“We will continue to make the case for corporate boards to adopt policies encouraging diversity of thought,” said Danhof. “Notably, the two major companies that have pushed back on this initiative are Starbucks and Apple – two of America’s most liberal corporations. This is not dissimilar to what we are seeing on college campuses nationwide, where liberals increasingly oppose the mere opportunity for students to hear and consider diverse opinions. Itappears that effort to stifle free speech and conservative thought has now reached the corporate board room.”

The Starbucks meeting marks the fourth time FEP has participated in a shareholder meeting in 2019.

Launched in 2007, the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project focuses on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Over the past four years alone, FEP representatives have participated in over 100 shareholder meetings – advancing free-market ideals about health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and other important public policy issues. As the leading voice for conservative-minded investors, it annually files more than 90 percent of all right-of-center shareholder resolutions. Dozens of liberal organizations, however, annually file more than 95 percent of all policy-oriented shareholder resolutions and continue to exert undue influence over corporate America.

FEP activity has been covered by media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Drudge Report, Business Insider, National Public Radio and SiriusXM. FEP’s work was prominently featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for email updates here. Follow us on Twitter at @FreeEntProject and @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.