Just days after an employee was publicly blasted for stealing the credit card number of a customer at a California location, Starbucks is in the middle of controversy once again. This time, Thandie Newton is calling the coffee chain out for a racist display set proudly at a franchise’s register.
The actress took to Twitter on Monday (Jan. 4) to ask Starbucks about a black figure seen carrying coffee beans while wearing nothing but a loin cloth and safari hat. In a tweet that has since been shared nearly 700 times, Newton said, “Seriously @Starbucks? At the counter – Loin cloth and Safari hat on a black child. Happy New Year circa 19th century,” before attaching an image of the disturbing statue.
— Thandie Newton (@thandienewton) January 4, 2016
Shortly after the For Colored Girls actress’ tweet went public, an official customer service account for the brewery responded with an apology and claim of investigation. “@thandienewton we are very concerned to learn of this incident and can’t apologise enough. We have removed the figure & are investigating.”
@thandienewton we are very concerned to learn of this incident & we can’t apologise enough. We have removed the figure & are investigating.
— Starbucks Help (@starbuckshelp) January 5, 2016
While many users agreed that Starbucks was just in apologizing for the offensive figurine, many felt as though the company’s remorse was unnecessary and just another example of people being hypersensitive about something that is minuscule in the grand scheme of things.
Still, others believed that the apology was essential. One Twitter user even offered the company HR advice in wake of its latest gaffe.
— nickolas silver (@royalviking04) January 4, 2016
— MatthewSievert (@MatthewSievert) January 5, 2016
— ROOT2TiP haircare (@Root2Tip) January 5, 2016
— Kahleem Poole-Tejada (@KahL_One) January 7, 2016
Welcome to 2016.