FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- For almost 20 years, Starbucks has released holiday themed cups to signify the start of the holiday season for many coffee lovers. This year however, a subtle design change has some claiming that the cups represent a case of political correctness gone awry.
Former televangelist, Joshua Feurstein, posted a video to Facebook railing against the plain red cups and claiming that Starbucks removed references to Christmas because "they hate Jesus."
In the video Feurstein also complains that Starbucks employees are not allowed to say "Merry Christmas" and stages a "protest" by claiming the greeting is his name, effectively forcing an employee to utter the phrase.
"So guess what Starbucks, I tricked you into putting Merry Christmas on your cup," he said in the video.
He also sought to offend the company by wearing a shirt with the image of Jesus Christ and carrying a gun.
Feurstein encouraged others to join in his movement by taking "coffee selfies" with cups featuring the phrase "Merry Christmas" written on them and using the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks.
Starbucks later explained that the cups were left blank to encourage patrons to draw their own holiday designs.
"Starbucks is inviting our customers to tell their Christmas stories in their own way, with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas,'' they told Today. "Over the past few years, our customers have been showcasing their work on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, and we even held a contest to support this creativity. This year's design is another way we are inviting our customers to create their own stories on our cups."
The company also responded to the video directly by saying that they look to cultivate an environment that is accepting of all people and beliefs.
"Each year during the holidays we aim to bring our customers an experience that inspires the spirit of the season and we will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world."
Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus ... SO I PRANKED THEM ... and they HATE IT!!!! #shareUse #MERRYCHRISTMASSTARBUCKSFollow --> Joshua FeuersteinPosted by Joshua Feuerstein on Thursday, November 5, 2015