- A Philadelphia Starbucks employee wrote “ISIS” instead of “Aziz” on the cup of a customer in Islamic dress, according to a Washington Post report.
- The customer, Niquel Johnson, told the Post that he felt shocked and angry after the incident. Starbucks told the Post in a statement that it was an employee’s honest mistake and did not believe it was an act of discrimination.
- This is the most recent incident in which customers have accused the coffee chain of discrimination.
- Two black men were arrested at a different Philadelphia Starbucks location in 2018 after trying to use the store’s restroom while they waited for a business meeting to begin.
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A Starbucks employee in Philadelphia wrote “ISIS,” the name of the Islamic terrorist group, instead of “Aziz” on a customer’s cup, as reported by The Washington Post.
According to the report, Niquel Johnson, 40, went into a Philadelphia Starbucks location in Islamic dress that Johnson said he’s been to “countless” times before. An employee asked for his name, as is standard, for staffers to call out when his order was prepared.
But Johnson’s order was announced by drink type, not name. And it wasn’t until later in the day that he realised that the word “ISIS” was typed in the order tag on the cup.
“I felt shocked and angry,” Johnson told The Post. “I felt it was discrimination.”
Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges told the Post in a statement that the company didn’t believe it was an act of discrimination after investigating.
“The customer approached and provided the name Aziz,” Borges told the Post. “The barista mistakenly spelled it incorrectly.”
But then things got even stranger.
Borges told The Post in a statement that Starbucks had contacted Johnson’s family and apologised after the incident gained social media attention.
And a Starbucks district manager also called Johnson to explain that Starbucks had called and apologised to what they believed was his niece, named Alora. Only Johnson said he doesn’t even know someone by that name, meaning Starbucks communicated with someone unrelated to Johnson.
The incident, further complicated by a misunderstanding and a disorderly response from the company, is just the most recent case in which a customer said they experienced discrimination at a Starbucks location. In April 2018, two black men meeting at a different Philadelphia Starbucks location for a business meeting were arrested after trying to use the store’s bathroom.
The arrest led to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson publicly apologizing to the two men and the company closing all locations for a day in May 2018 for racial-bias education.
Read the full report on the Philadelphia Starbucks incident on The Washington Post.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the chain has faced allegations of discrimination, not proven epsiodes of discrimination.