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Starbucks ditches #RaceTogether campaign on its US coffee cups

image copyrightStarbucks

Starbucks baristas won't write Race Together on customers' cups any more.

The diversity and racial inequality campaign in America has been ditched after it was criticised as opportunistic and inappropriate.

Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson said the coffee chain's race initiative would carry on without the messages.

The campaign was launched after national protests in the US over several police killings of black men in New York and Ferguson, Missouri.

"While there has been criticism of the initiative - and I know this hasn't been easy for any of you - let me assure you that we didn't expect universal praise," a company memo from CEO Howard Schultz said.

Some customers said they didn't want to talk about race while being served coffee.

The #racetogether hashtag was also hijacked after being promoted on Twitter.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionCommon helped to launch the campaign at a Starbucks shareholders meeting

"Most people come to Starbucks for coffee," said Ninette Musili, a 19-year-old African-American student at the University of Michigan.

"Race is an uncomfortable thing to bring up, especially in a Starbucks."

Another customer, Shane Mulholland, 46, said Starbucks wasn't the place to talk about race.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionStarbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the campaign was a "catalyst" for a broader conversation

"They're here for coffee. They're not here to push their political agenda," he said.

"I even contemplated not coming here because of it."

He said Starbucks should remain neutral on topics like race because it's an established brand, rather than risk putting customers off.

"There are other ways you can go about doing things to stimulate interest in what you're doing," said Mulholland.

"They must be doing so well they don't have to worry about losing customers over that."

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