Starbucks CEO and founder Howard Schultz was slated to appear at a church and give a speech, "How Starbucks Fought for its Life Without Losing Its Soul" at the Chicago-based Willow Creek Community Church. This raised some eyebrows, as WCC is associated with a megachurch that has ties to "ex-gay" reparative therapy organization Exodus International.
Naturally, a Change.org petition was created and it sufficiently pressured Shultz to cut his relationship with the church. The petition reads:
The church that is sponsoring the event on August 11th and 12th has a long history anti-gay persecution. For decades the church was a member of Exodus International, the organization that seeks to cure homosexuality through dangerous conversion therapy. The church split ways with the group, but in doing so stated that it wasn’t a change in belief but a change in focus. The church also has their own “outreach” programs to the LGBT community to spread their anti-lgbt message.The Chicago Tribune also notes that Starbucks recently came under fire for the very public firing of a gay employee at a Long Island store. Did Schultz decide to step carefully in this incident due to past mistakes his employees have made? It's unclear, but good for him for withdrawing from the leadership summit in question.