News Articles

American Girl, Starbucks prompt ‘boycott’ news

NASHVILLE (BP) — As retailers open the Christmas shopping season, One Million Moms is calling for a boycott of American Girl products and the parent company Mattel, because American Girl Magazine’s November/December cover features a gay couple and its four adoptive children.

The morality watchdog group’s call comes even as various media outlets report that some Christians are opposed to the new Starbucks holiday cup, although no Christian group has been specifically identified as calling for a Starbucks boycott. Instead, Christians have decried news of a boycott of the coffee chain.

The American Girl controversy arose after the magazine featured a story about an 11-year-old girl and her two adoptive dads, whom she refers to as “Daddy” and “Dada.” The magazine could have spotlighted adoption with a family that promotes biblical values, One Million Moms said.

“American Girl is attempting to desensitize our youth by featuring a family with two dads. If your child has not seen this yet, then be careful she is not exposed and can avoid a premature conversation she is far too young to understand,” One Million Moms said in its press release urging the boycott.

“We must remain diligent and stand up for biblical values and truth,” said One Million Moms, which mobilizes mothers to encourage morality in media. “Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature. American Girl doesn’t highlight other sins in their magazine.”

American Girl is one of Mattel’s top toy brands, according to the Mattel website, and includes the best-selling toy lines Truly Me, Girl of the Year, Bitty Baby and BeForever. Mattel describes the American Girl’s line of toys as existing “to fuel belonging and connection among girls, a goal that has already earned the loyalty of millions and the praise and trust of their parents and educators.”

Starbucks cup

Starbucks debuts a red cup each Christmas, but this year the cup is decorated with the green Starbucks logo, instead of a winter snowflakes scene, as in 2014. A Nov. 4 Facebook post from a certain Joshua Feuerstein in Mountain Hill, Ariz., complaining about the 2015 cup went viral, and led to perhaps erroneous media reports that many Christians were boycotting the brand.

Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, urged Christians not to buy into the hoopla in a Nov. 9 post on his blog, The Exchange.

“Folks, we really need to calm down. If you’ve posted an outraged Facebook update, take it down,” Stetzer wrote. “Starbucks cups are red because of the Christmas season. Starbucks is not persecuting you. Starbucks may be attempting to respect those who don’t celebrate Christmas — and that’s OK. That’s their choice. They’re a business that exists to serve all customers without preference, regardless of what winter holidays they do or do not celebrate. If they choose to do that by means of a plain, red cup, that’s their call.”

Jonathan Merritt wrote in the Washington Post today, Nov. 10, that “most Christians don’t care about Starbucks.”

“I’ve read dozens of stories on this from as many news outlets and I can’t find a single Christian organization or leader of import that is backing a boycott in any story,” the Washington Post article reads. “Instead, many Christians responded to the backlash with backlash, saying that a boycott was pointless and a bit ridiculous.”

Starbucks explained the cup’s design in a press release posted on its website.

“In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs,” Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design and Content, said in the release. “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories. … Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays. We’re embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it. It’s [a] more open way to usher in the holiday.”

Faith Driven Consumer is responding to the Starbucks news by calling for a Christmas buycott of products compatible with the Christian message.

Promoting itself as representing 41 million consumers who spend $30 billion at Christmas, Faith Driven Consumer encourages Christians to support faith-friendly brands.

“Starbucks is free to design cups and other materials as they see fit, and each consumer — driven by their values and ideals — will respond based on the relative appeal of these products,” Faith Driven Consumer said in a press release today. “For those Faith Driven Consumers and others dissatisfied with Starbucks’ new presentation of Christmas as ‘a blank canvas,’ the #ChristmasBUYcott offers a positive and viable path forward.”

Faith Driven Consumer rates more than 330 major brands on its Faith Equality Index of compatibility with the message of marketplace and workplace equality for people of faith.

“To date, we have scored Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Krispy Kreme on the Faith Equality Index,” the group said. “The latter two, while not perfect, offer more faith-compatible alternatives. Rather than being frustrated with a company that fails to acknowledge your values, simply choose a brand that better welcomes you as a Faith Driven Consumer.”