Hoax touts free Starbucks for yelling 'Black Lives Matter'

Hoax touts free Starbucks for yelling ‘Black Lives Matter’

Devon Link
USA TODAYPublished 7:46 PM EDT Jun 4, 2020The claim: Starbucks is offering customers who shout ‘Black Lives Matter!’ in stores free FrappuccinosAs America finishes out a second week of protests following George Floyd’s death, a fake Starbucks promotion is promising Black Lives Matter supporters free drinks.“Saw this on Twitter and I couldn’t believe if this coupon was real, so I had to go try it myself. I pulled up in the drive thru and calmly said, ‘Black Lives Matter’ The employee said, ‘Thank you, which one would you like today?’” Dan Falconoski posted to Facebook on Wednesday. “I pulled up to the window and presented my phone with this photo … she smiled and handed me my tall caramel frappuccino!”Falconoski, who wrote that the promotion had worked for him twice, posted an image of a fake advertisement.“Black Lives matter! Come to any of our stores shouting these words for a free Frappuccino of your choice,” the fake ad reads. “The louder you shout, the larger the size you’ll get!”The ad features an image of branded Starbucks cups, a QR code and the company’s trademarked logo.Commenters were quick to question the post’s validity and customers’ commitment to the cause of Black Lives Matter.“You definitely proved that ppl will say anything to get something,” F Nicole Blackwell commented.“Do half of y’all even care about what’s going on ?? But y’all screaming black lives matter for a fcking coffee,” Emonie Blackwell commented.Within less than 24 hours, Falconoski’s post had hundreds of likes, almost a thousand comments and more than 8,000 shares.Falconoski has not responded to USA TODAY’s request for comment.The purported ad was posted by several other Facebook users and was widely shared. Thursday Ohio internet radio station Ear Kandy Radio published an article about the fictional promotion that it later removed.“Thank you to Starbucks and the countless other businesses and people who are showing their solidarity and joining the movement,” Ear Kandy Radio wrote.More: Starbucks faces the reality of the pandemic, starts making cutsStarbucks: Promotion is fakeStarbucks has not posted the promotion on any of its social media pages or in its app.“This is not a valid Starbucks offer,” a Starbucks spokesperson told USA TODAY on Thursday. “Our customers may confirm any Starbucks promotion, by checking the Starbucks app, reaching out to our customer care line, or asking a Starbucks barista.” On Saturday, Starbucks posted a letter from CEO and President Kevin Johnson encouraging employees to have “courageous conversations” about race and inclusion.In a tweet Thursday morning, the international corporation announced its $1 million donation toward racial equity organizations and new publicly available, anti-bias training. “Black lives matter. We are committed to being a part of change,” Starbucks tweeted.Past criticism of the coffee companyStarbucks has previously faced criticism and protest for discriminatory actions in one of its 8,000 U.S. stores.In April 2018, a Starbucks employee had two black men arrested for trespassing after they asked to use the bathroom without making a purchase. In response to national disapproval, Starbucks closed all its U.S. stores for a day to conduct anti-discrimination training for more than 175,000 employees.In the days following the incident, another fake coupon offering African Americans free coffee spread on social media.“We’re sorry. We know we can do better. Starbucks values all people of color and we are working on employee sensitivity training. The best dialogue starts over a cup of coffee and we’d like to buy you one,” the fake coupon read. “Limited to persons of African American heritage and/or identity at time of exchange.”When customers scanned the QR code on the voucher, it revealed the N-word. It’s believed that the 2018 fake ad was created as a prank by white supremacists.Our rating: FalseWe rate the claim that Starbucks is offering customers who shout “Black Lives Matter!” in stores free drinks FALSE because it is not supported by our research. According to a Starbucks spokesperson, no such promotion exists.Our fact-check sources:Ear Kandy RadioStarbucks, Letter from ceo: Courageous conversations in the wake of George Floyd’s murderStarbucks, June 4 tweetStarbucks Global Academy, Welcoming Dialogue on Black/African American BiasUSA TODAY, “‘Starbucks coffee is anti-black’ say chanting protesters at Philadelphia Starbucks where 2 black men were arrested”USA TODAY, “Starbucks closing U.S. stores on May 29 for racial-bias training”USA TODAY “Fake Starbucks coupon aimed at blacks uses the N-word”Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.


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