Women barred from entering Starbucks in Saudi Arabia

Published: February 3, 2016
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

Saudi women going to the Starbucks café in Riyadh were surprised to find a board at the door asking them to keep out of the place, according to Emirates 24/7.

Images of the notice preventing women from entering Starbucks soon began showing up on Twitter.

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The notice, in Arabic as well as English, reads, “Please no entry for ladies, only send your driver to order. Thank you.”

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the most influential law enforcing authority in the Kingdom, ordered the café’s management not to admit women, according to Emirates 24/7.

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The commission issued the order after it found that the gender-separation wall ordered by authorities for all restaurants and other shops had collapsed.

The management told police that the wall had collapsed many times because of persistent stampedes by customers.

According to Cosmopolitan, Starbucks issued a statement explaining their action. “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 statement read.

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“We are working as quickly as possible as we refurbish our Jarir store, so that we may again welcome all customers in accordance with local customs,” it added.

Many took to Twitter to condemn the act:

Reader Comments (29)

  • Abu Norr
    Feb 3, 2016 - 1:55PM

    Its not true. They are serving everyone. Females in the family section…. confirmation from groundRecommend

  • Ovais
    Feb 3, 2016 - 2:16PM

    ET why would you share such an article . they dont have family seating area .. why is the fuss with saudia and ET . your biasdness is obvious.Recommend

  • vinsin
    Feb 3, 2016 - 9:23PM

    Their countries their laws. Saudi never claimed to be a liberal society anyway, it is an Islamic state, so make sense.Recommend

  • Feb 3, 2016 - 10:00PM

    Whats with the sexist comments by Ovais and Abu Norr?? Seems like they definately agree with saudi misogyny.Recommend

  • Haira Phairi
    Feb 3, 2016 - 10:43PM

    So what’s new in it. It’s been like that in KSA since ages. Recommend

  • Daniel Little
    Feb 3, 2016 - 11:35PM

    How does Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice prevent Saudi men from seeing Saudi women on streets, or does it not apply there? Not going to say the western world is perfect but that is so outlandish and backwards. Recommend

  • Hameed
    Feb 4, 2016 - 12:23AM

    How come ladies are allowed to have drivers? Isn’t it more dangerous to be alone in a car with a man? Starbucks is still a public place and likelihood of any hancky pancky is extremely remote.Recommend

  • Karrar
    Feb 4, 2016 - 12:43AM

    The collapsing of walls by repeated customer stampede shows the frustration of public. The regime themselves on the other hand book the whole of french beaches to vent their own frustration with their own rules. Recommend

  • Abdulaziz bin Abdulaziz aziz
    Feb 4, 2016 - 12:56AM

    @Abu Norr:
    its still up.Recommend

  • Jason
    Feb 4, 2016 - 1:00AM

    I lived in KSA for over 3 years and almost every store has a separate section for families (including women only) and single men. There are even places single men are not allowed. Its a country where their laws are based off their religion, thats how the country is whether we like or not.Recommend

  • Saad
    Feb 4, 2016 - 2:46AM

    That’s not true, that’s a sign on only one of there stores because it gets really crowded in the morning. Other Starbucks stores allow women to enter. Please check your facts before accusing an entire nation.Recommend

  • Kervin Jacquet
    Feb 4, 2016 - 2:54AM

    This is so shameful and sad. And yet our American government continually call Saudi Arabia are “ally”. Recommend

  • Husam
    Feb 4, 2016 - 3:05AM

    It is only a one branch among a lot branches in Riyadh. Usually cafés in Riyadh have families and singles sections, but this particular branch has only one section (which is weird) and they were serving females, but sometimes it gets too crowded, and in saudi culture women should have some space. Otherwise women are welcomed in any starbucks branch, either alone or with their families.Recommend

  • Gay Mohammed on fire
    Feb 4, 2016 - 3:37AM

    There really needs to be an asteroid wipe out the whole place. Recommend

  • Kahlia
    Feb 4, 2016 - 3:40AM

    No one in the civilized world expects any better from this backwards little country.Recommend

  • steve
    Feb 4, 2016 - 4:18AM

    Can’t they just use the drive through? Oh wait….Recommend

  • Chris
    Feb 4, 2016 - 6:44AM

    How stupefyingly idiotic. Get it together guys. Recommend

  • Zara
    Feb 4, 2016 - 6:56AM

    It’s called insanity. When will something good come out of saudi arabia? Except from saudi black metal, nada…Recommend

  • Moses
    Feb 4, 2016 - 9:48AM

    Yeah cuz we have money and you are so jealous and obsessed with Saudi Arabia Recommend

  • Faizan Shaikh
    Feb 4, 2016 - 11:24AM

    Ur concerned with thats happening in Saudia? Well there are many Hotels and points within Pakistan which do not allow PAKISTANIS to enter in it. About time we start worrying about our own selves and our own country. What happens outside is their own business…!!! Recommend

  • Tp
    Feb 4, 2016 - 1:02PM

    Somebody forgot to tell them that the Dark Ages are over. Then again, they are who they are.Recommend

  • SEAsian
    Feb 4, 2016 - 4:58PM

    @Abu Norr: If you can read the notice posted on the door, you won’t have to make up stories.Recommend

  • Prada
    Feb 4, 2016 - 5:11PM

    Guys, go easy on the Saudis, will you? To their credit, they have given their women permission to bear as many children as they want. Surely that deserves an applause.Recommend

  • Rahul
    Feb 4, 2016 - 7:28PM

    @Saad:
    So why couldn’t they have barred men from entering or stopping people from entering beyond a particular limit? Its because its easy and preferred to opress women Recommend

  • binger
    Feb 4, 2016 - 7:38PM

    there are hundreds of places in Saudia where single men can’t enter.Recommend

  • Dr Strangelove
    Feb 5, 2016 - 1:53AM

    In Bahamas locals aren’t allowed in casinos.Recommend

  • Clockboy Ahmed
    Feb 5, 2016 - 8:44AM

    @Dr Strangelove:
    Local men or women or both, how is it a bias? I was not allowed in US without a Visa, should I say US Consulate was biased?Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Feb 6, 2016 - 4:35AM

    @Prada:: and as many chauffeurs as she wants Recommend

  • Shaista
    Feb 6, 2016 - 6:56AM

    @Ali: Are you retarded or something? what is “sexist” about Abu Norr and Ovais comments? Recommend

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