David Brunelle, Starbucks’ director of product engineering, blasted a salesperson for sending an email that Brunelle considered rife with sexism.
What was so bad about the message?
Brunelle received the email from an unidentified salesperson comparing women to coffee.
According to the message — which Brunelle shared on social media — the marketing email read, “I can’t help myself, what’s your go-to order at Starbucks. I like my women like I like my Starbucks order: Tall, Blonde, Americano … ”
Brunelle shared the message with the caption, “Here’s a blatant example of sexism in an email from a salesman this morning.”
“Men,” Brunelle warned, “don’t do this.”
What did Brunelle say?
Brunelle issued a scathing email response to the unidentified salesperson.
He wrote, “You lost me with this line,” and pointed to the remark comparing women to coffee.
“Tech can be a challenging place for women,” Brunelle wrote. “Your statement perpetuates the mindset that women are here for our entertainment. I don’t believe that to be true.
“This type of statement also makes a few dangerous assumptions,” he added. “That I’m heterosexual and will relate to the objectification of women[.] That I’m cisgender and haven’t personally been objectified/alienated[.] That I’d feel comfortable objectifying women behind closed doors[.]”
Brunelle added that he doesn’t feel that Starbucks’ and the salesperson’s “values align.”
“One of my company’s values, that I am deeply committed to upholding is ‘Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome,'” Brunelle boasted. “I’m also dedicated to increasing diversity in technology. In order to increase the number of women and minorities in this field, we need to foster an environment where everyone feels safe and supported.”
His message concluded, “It doesn’t seem like our values align.”
Brunelle later responded to a Twitter follower who asked why the Starbucks exec felt the need to air the details of the private email.
The user wrote, “While I 100% agree with the spirit of your response why the need for a tweet? Does twitter really need to be the fly on the wall in every conversation?”
Brunelle responded with three points.
“To demonstrate that folks from under represented groups have allies,” he wrote.
“To show men that have yet to internalize the lesson yet: sexism/ racism is not ok,” his response added.
“To model what it looks like to hold each other accountable,” he concluded.
Brunelle also revealed that he decided to share the salesperson’s email with the company’s CEO and VP of Sales.
“After careful consideration, I decided to share this email with the company’s CEO and VP of Sales,” Brunelle said. “I suggested this person be given an opportunity to receive training and contribute to D&I efforts vs. being punished. This type of attitude is just too problematic to brush off.”