The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Starbucks minimalist cup design stirs up controversy

Flickr Creative Commons
Starbucks red holiday cups offer a minimalist design where a bright red fades off into a darker shade, different from winter snowflakes, reindeer and snowmen drawings from previous years.

If you are walking from one class to the other with a Starbucks cup in your hand, you might notice that something is missing.

The company has released the new cups for the Christmas season without any reference to the Christian holiday. The cups are only colored with a shiny red that ombres into a darker cranberry shade. The new cup design has created a controversy among the Christian population.

A video of former pastor and social media personality Joshua Feuerstein went viral on the web with more than 10 million views, putting the matter under public eye.

Feuerstein defined Starbucks as an anti-Christian company and said that Starbucks removed any Christmas writings and/or drawings “because they hate Jesus.”

Starbucks replied that the company wanted to “create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity.”

According to an interview released on the official Starbucks website, Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of design and content, said, “In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs. This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

St. John’s students reacted in different ways to the situation. Junior Fausto Rodriguez sides with the Starbucks design, calling it an inclusive way to celebrate the holiday season.

“I think ‘happy holidays’ is the safe way of greeting someone during that time of year, rather than assuming they celebrate Christmas,” Rodriguez said.

“It’s foolish to call this an attack on Christmas just because Starbucks wants to include everybody rather than just the majority.”

On the other hand, there are students who support Feuerstein’s point of view.

“As a Christian, I am outraged by Starbucks’ unethical behavior,” graduate student Marta Hausman said.

In the meantime, there are also students who don’t believe the controversy should be a big issue.

“This is a perfect example of people digging too deep into things that don’t matter. It may matter to some people. However, it’s really just a cup and you’re still getting your daily dose of caffeine, so why complain,” sophomore Cristina Palavra said.  “Compared to those families overseas who can’t even walk out of their houses, nevermind celebrate the holiday season due to never-ending violence, this controversy seems petty and unimportant.”

Junior Israel Lopez, thinks the issue is not that relevant.

“Christmas is about the coming together of families and communities to celebrate life, not just the life of Jesus but also the life people share together,” Lopez said. “But, we shouldn’t need a written reminder to feel that way.”

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