Earlier this month, Starbucks released a video to introduce the cups. It featured a variety of customers, including an animation of two women shown holding hands around a Starbucks drink. Though their relationship wasn’t specified, some people saw it as a nod toward LGBTQ customers.
“This year’s hand-drawn cup features scenes of celebrating with loved ones — whoever they may be,” Starbucks spokeswoman Sanja Gould told The Times. “We intentionally designed the cup so our customers can interpret it in their own way, adding their own color and illustrations.”
This isn’t the first time the company’s holiday cups caused discussion. In 2015, many people were upset about the plain red cups that didn't have a holiday-themed pattern. A conservative Christian activist pushed a boycott of Starbucks.
At the time, the company said the cups were a blank canvas for customers to tell their own holiday story.
Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks/Starbucks
Starbucks 2017 holiday cups photographed on Monday, October 23, 2017. Some say the cups depict a gay couple, which the company would not confirm or deny.