Starbucks CEO Cancels on Church Linked to Conversion Therapy

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com August 11 2011 8:35 AM ET

Starbucks CEO and founder Howard Schultz canceled an appearance at Willow Creek Community Church after an online petition brought attention to the church's association with conversion therapy.

According to the  Chicago Tribune, Schultz was scheduled to deliver a talk Friday about “How Starbucks Fought for its Life Without Losing Its Soul” during an annual leadership summit sponsored by the Willow Creek Association in South Barrington, Ill.

“Though Starbucks confirmed Schultz no longer planned to be there, the company would not attribute it to a campaign launched last week calling on Schultz to denounce the church’s stance before the event,” reports the Tribune.

The petition posted to Change.org drew more than 700 signatures and noted that Willow Creek maintained a long relationship with Exodus International, which teaches that gay people can be “cured” of their sexual orientation. The church ended its association with Exodus in 2009.

Earlier this summer the coffee company announced an investigation of allegations that a gay New York barista was fired for discussing his personal life because Starbucks had “zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”