Christian Controversy: Starbucks Under Fire Over Holiday Cups
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Starbucks' 2015 holiday cup (Image:

Josua Feuerstein, an Arizona-based evangelist, is calling for Starbucks to put Christ back into Christmas via their new holiday cups. The mega coffee brand recently revived red-and-green coffee cups just in time for the upcoming season of celebration, and Feuerstein has used social media to encourage consumers to take a stand and ensuring that the reason for the season is recognized.

Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus … SO I PRANKED THEM … and they HATE IT!!!! #shareUse #MERRYCHRISTMASSTARBUCKSFollow –> Joshua Feuerstein

Posted by Joshua Feuerstein on Thursday, November 5, 2015

Feuerstein’s post, which criticized the lack of a Christian message on the cups, was viewed 12 million times by Monday morning, according to reports, and has more than 120,000 likes.

“Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand-new cups?” Feuerstein asked in the video. “That’s why they’re just plain red.”

Instead of boycotting, he told the barista at the time that his name was “Merry Christmas” so the phrase could appear on the cup. He’s calling for other customers to do the same and to post selfies with the cups on social media.

The company said in a statement that the red cup represents a blank canvas for customers to put their own doodles. Starbucks will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in its stores around the world, the company said.

“Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays,” Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of design and content, said in a statement announcing this year’s cup. “We’re embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it. It’s more open way to usher in the holiday.”

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has reportedly weighed in on the controversy saying at a recent campaign stop, “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.”


News of the controversy surrounding Starbucks cups comes as results from the Faith Equality Index were recently released, and interestingly enough the brand ranked as one of the worst for Christian consumers.

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.