(CBS) — Bosses at some of the biggest companies in the world are taking heat for criticizing President Trump’s immigration ban, which critics have called anti-Muslim.
They’re facing boycott threats, but they’re getting support, too.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams talked to a business expert who says executives are walking a tightrope in these volatile times.
The Starbucks at North and Wells was doing brisk business Monday — seemingly unfazed by the controversy swirling around the coffee giant.
In response to President Trump’s executive order on immigration, Starbucks CEO Howard Schutlz pledged to hire 10,000 refugees, sparking a social media backlash.
On Twitter: “Hiring 10K refugees makes liberals feel warm BUT we have homeless vets that need those jobs. #BoycottStarbucks.”
“It’s really hard for executives right now because we’re in such a polarized world,” says Northwestern University marketing professor Tim Calkins.
He says corporate bosses today have to consider how a personal expression might affect their companies.
“Even when you say a general statement you can then quickly find yourself getting into trouble, and all of sudden people are saying this a terrible company and a terrible executive.”
When cab drivers in New York staged a work stoppage Saturday to protest President Trump’s decision, Uber turned off surge pricing there. Critics said that undermined the protest, and they launched an Uber boycott.
Williams posted a simple question on Facebook: “Anyone planning to boycott Starbucks or Uber? If so, why?”
It prompted a huge response. From James NcIntyre: “I will be supporting Starbucks with the money I’m saving by not using Uber.”
But Karen Cilenti said: “I think the whole thing is ridiculous. The way this is going you’ll only be able to shop at stores based on their political beliefs.”
Starbucks’ Schultz has faced criticism before from conservatives for supporting progressive causes.