Rosalind Brewer is the first woman and the first black American to hold the position of chief operating officer at Starbucks. Recent Facebook posts claim she’s also wary of the people who often serve in that role: white men.
"Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer has shocked shareholders after it was revealed she believes white men are the root of all evil," reads one post that appeared in Facebook groups like "The Liborants," "The Deplorables" and "LARGEST GROUP EVER! We need to 10000000 members to Make America Great Again!" on Nov. 5.
The claim stems from an old story on News Punch, a website with the tagline "where mainstream fears to tread."
The story, published Feb. 17, 2018, has this headline: "Starbucks COO: White Men Are Root Of All Evil."
"Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer has shocked shareholders after it was revealed she believes white men are the root of all evil," the story says. "According to a recently surfaced 2015 CNN interview, Brewer says she is extremely ‘triggered’ by the sight of white men in business."
This story has also been shared on Facebook in recent days, and it was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Sean Adl-Tabatabai, is listed at the bottom of the story as editor-in-chief of Your News Wire (that website, YourNewsWire.com, redirects to News Punch’s home page). In response to an email seeking more information about the claim, Adl-Tabatabai said: "That was an old story from YourNewsWire.com. I’m not sure why it has been appearing on social media again, but we have unpublished it now that it has been brought to our attention as its (sic) not something we now stand by."
The story, which was pulled after PolitiFact’s query, linked to a Washington Post story from December 2015 with the headline: "Sam’s Club CEO called ‘racist’ for remarks on diversity."
Before she moved to Starbucks, Brewer was at the helm of the Walmart chain. The Post story concerns comments she made in an interview with CNN that month that prompted the allegations of racism.
During the interview, CNN anchor Poppy Harlow notes that Brewer is a rarity in "the corner office" as a minority, female CEO.
"Where do you fall on who has to make the change and how it is going to happen so that there are more women like you represented in the top echelons of corporate America?" Harlow then asks.
Brewer says it has to start with the top leadership at a company. "My executive team is very diverse, and I make that a priority. I demand it of my team and within the structure. And then, every now and then, you have to nudge your partners, and you have to speak up and speak out. And I try to use my platform for that. … I try to set an example. I mentor many women inside my company and outside the company because I think it’s important."
Brewer then agrees with Harlow that diversity is important in hiring for top positions at a company. "And I talk to my suppliers about it. Just today I met with a supplier, and the entire other side of the table was all Caucasian males. That was interesting," Brewer says. "I decided not to talk about it directly with the folks in the room because there were actually no females, like, levels down. So I’m going to place a call to him."
Her remarks led to hashtags like #boycottsamsclub and #boycottracistsamsclub, according to the Post. But while the comments may have been controversial, they don’t indicate that she thinks white men are "evil" or "the root of all evil."
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