Starbucks has come under fire from angry Twitter users after a Riyadh branch was accused of barring women from entry. This comes at a time when pictures of signs banning women from certain stores have been cropping up on social media, leading to condemnation and increased debate surrounding gender discrimination in the kingdom.
One Twitter user directly accused a Starbucks branch in Riyadh of not letting her in, stating that she was told to send a man into the coffee shop instead.
#Starbucks store in Riyadh refused 2 serve me just because I'm a WOMAN & asked me 2 send a man instead@Starbucks pic.twitter.com/6Nj6DkOtFJ— Manar N (@manarn8) February 1, 2016
In a country which does not allow women to drive and enforces a pretty serious gender barrier, this may not come as a surprise. Indeed, it is not at all unusual for coffee shops and other public spaces to forbid entry to single women or men, or even women altogether.
However this case appears to be more controversial due to the fact that it involves Starbucks, a major international brand.
The company said in a statement that the store in question is undergoing renovations to build a wall to accommodate single people as well as families, according to Cosmopolitan.
“Starbucks in Saudi Arabia adheres to the local customs by providing separate entrances for families as well as single people. All our stores provide equal amenities, service, menu, and seating to men, women and families,” the company said in a statement, according to Cosmopolitan.
However, this did not stop them facing the wrath of Twitter users.
@MuhammadLila @Sophiemcneill re:Starbucks scandal. Why does Saudi Arabia sit on the UN human rights council? Fox guarding the chickens...?— Ben Byrne (@BenByrne82) February 3, 2016
@Starbucks please stop this #discrimination against #women in your #Riyadh #Saudi Arabia store#Starbucks pic.twitter.com/chGbGgMuMu— Manar N (@manarn8) February 1, 2016
One step forward, two steps back: #Starbucks in Saudi Arabia bars women from entering to buy coffee https://t.co/wjaDoyHotl @WomenintheWorld— Lucy Wilson (@LucyLWilson) February 4, 2016
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