First, let me express my deepest appreciation to the more than 14,000 people who — as of our deadline on Monday afternoon — have read, shared, and responded to my story in last week’s issue about Starbucks’ refusal to allow Hotspots to be distributed in the lobby of its store at Five Points in Wilton Manors. Many of you have found it hard to believe that this is happening in our own backyard. You’re just as outraged as we are, and for that, I thank you.
A special note of thanks also goes to Wilton Manors Mayor Gary Resnick, who reached out to me personally over the weekend to ask if there is anything he can do to help.
For more than 30 years, Hotspots has stood side by side with our community, united as one voice against bigotry and hatred, and we remain firmly committed to continuing our mission — in fact, now more than ever. That a company such as Starbucks, one that prides itself on its support of LGBT rights, would ban one of America’s longest-running LGBT publications from being distributed at its store in Wilton Manors, of all places, is simply beyond comprehension.
On Friday morning, I emailed a link to last week’s Starbucks story to the company’s corporate offices via firstname.lastname@example.org. So far, the only response from the company is the robo-email below, which I received shortly after sending the link.
Thank you for contacting Starbucks. I just finished reading your email and appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with us.
I am sorry to hear the way you have been treated, I have sent the link to the proper department in order to address the issue.
Thanks again for writing us. If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Starbucks Customer Care
Time will tell just how “sincere” Roger G. and his employer really are. We’ll keep you posted about any further developments.
In the meantime, we have placed a new Hotspots distribution box on city property just east of the 26th Street entrance to Starbucks’ parking lot so that readers who frequent the store will have access to the magazine. But we also want to let readers know that those of you who have no intention of patronizing Starbucks until this matter is resolved have other options: Java Boys, Stork’s Bakery, and Dunkin Donuts continue to have Hotspots in their stores for patrons to read — not to mention all the restaurants, bars, clubs, and stores along (or near) Wilton Drive that proudly display our magazine.
Don’t get me wrong. We in no way want to discourage Starbucks from continuing the good work the company has done for the LGBT community. We simply ask that they talk the talk and walk the walk — and that they start by showing support for their LGBT customers right here in Wilton Manors.
-Peter Clark is Publisher of Hotspots Media Group.