Howard Schultz’s SXSW Appearance Confirms Once Again That No One Likes Him

Illustration for article titled Howard Schultz’s SXSW Appearance Confirms Once Again That No One Likes Himem/em
Photo: Joshua Lott (Getty Images)

In a Washington Post profile on former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s debacle with the Seattle SuperSonics basketball team, a Seattle city council ex-member described Schultz’s approach as “a feeling of entitlement” and “arrogance.”


It’s that special American blend of white privilege and being a billionaire, one in which the rich white man, who can do no wrong, inevitably saves the world. It’s a disgusting falsehood.

No one seems to be buying Schultz’s current vanity project, which could help Donald Trump remain in the White House for four more years should Schultz decide to run for president in 2020. But that’s not stopping him. Of course not. Because Schultz’s “maybe-I’m-running” campaign isn’t about anything other than Howard Schultz.


It’s not that the signs that most people loathe him for what he’s doing aren’t there—they’re crystal clear. Schultz just doesn’t want to believe it.

His latest failure was an appearance on Saturday at SXSW in Austin, TX. As The Daily Beast reported, Schultz bombed. In one exchange, in which he criticized Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, and the Green New Deal, Schultz demonstrated a pattern he has of elevating hypocrisy to the highest art form.

Schultz said, “They love the country. They have their core beliefs. But you have to ask them, is any of this possible?” Is it possible? That’s a good question to ask yourself, pal.

In an interview on Friday, Schultz again criticized the Democrats, warning that a “far-left” presidential candidate would help Trump win. “I really believe the spoiler in all of this is going to be a far-left Democratic candidate, if that’s who gets the nomination, who is walking the shoes of a socialist,” he said, according to CBS News.


Hey, Howard, to point out the obvious: The spoiler in all of this will be you if you run as an independent candidate.

So why doesn’t Schultz run as a Democrat if he wants to change things? Because he knows he’ll lose. And he wouldn’t garner enough of the spotlight in a crowded field of potential Democratic nominees. Arrogance. Entitlement.


Another profile of Schultz by The New York Times described his political operation as “fledgling.” But it also shows the benefits he continues to reap from the Starbucks empire that he built:

In the company’s 2018 fiscal year, for the months that he was executive chairman his salary was only $1. But Equilar found that Mr. Schultz’s actual pay — including exercised stock options, vested stock and retirement income — amounted to $76,745,740.

I asked Mr. Yu to assess Mr. Schultz’s total Starbucks compensation going back to 2007. It amounted to $774,622,478. And then there was his Starbucks stock: He controlled 37,694,049 shares on Dec. 17. On Friday afternoon, those shares would have been worth about $2.6 billion.


No wonder he hates “socialism” so much.

Back at SXSW, Schultz received only “a smattering of applause” for his remarks, according to The Daily Beast. Even some questions by interviewer Dylan Byers, of NBC News, openly mocked him. According to the Beast, “Byers asked Schultz about how he could be so successful with the Starbucks brand, but seemingly so bad to date at building his own brand.”


Byers also asked: “Do you have people in your life who tell you: Howard, don’t do this, you’re embarrassing yourself?”

Update, Saturday, 6:15 p.m.: Oh. Well, this is something.

Weekend Editor, Splinter

Share This Story

Get our newsletter