Starbucks Watermelon Mug in front of green background

Starbucks

Starbucks accused of profiting from Palestinian suffering with watermelon mug. But the mug isn’t new

It predates the Oct. 7 attack.

 

Audra Schroeder

IRL

Posted on Jan 17, 2024   Updated on Jan 17, 2024, 4:59 pm CST

Starbucks is one of several companies facing boycotts for its stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict after a pro-Palestine Starbucks union tweet from October was deleted.

Now, another tweet about Starbucks selling a watermelon mug is driving backlash.

After the company announced it was suing the Starbucks Workers Union, claiming the October tweet confused people who thought it was from Starbucks, it saw a rough holiday season. This prompted a statement from CEO Laxman Narasimhan.

“We see protestors influenced by misrepresentation on social media of what we stand for,” he said in a Dec. 19 post, adding, “We stand for humanity.”

The neutral stance on Palestine—and the coffee giant’s union-busting efforts—have soured some people on Starbucks. The #boycottstarbucks tag has more than 212 million views on TikTok.

Perhaps attempting to get in on this engagement, a tweet from @ThisahmedR on Wednesday showed a photo of a watermelon mug sold by Starbucks.

“ain’t no way #Starbucks has released watermelon mug to earn on Palestinian’s blood,” it reads. “SHAME ON YOU.”

In Body Image
ThisahmedR/X

The watermelon and watermelon emoji are used to show support for Palestine online while avoiding censorship, and its history in Palestine goes back decades. This tweet suggests Starbucks just released the mug, perhaps in an attempt to help turn public opinion. This angered (and confused) people even more.

“Starbucks must really be feeling the boycott,” said one commenter.

But the limited edition mug was released in spring 2023, months before the Oct. 7 attack. A listing appears on the U.K. Starbucks site, but the mug is not for sale anymore.

There are eBay listings for the mug that call it a “European exclusive.” One listing shows the bottom of the mug with a 2022 copyright. An Instagram post from May 2023, from the Starbucks UAE account, also shows the mug.

However, presenter Deana Hassanein posted a TikTok earlier this week showing the watermelon mug for sale at a Starbucks store in Cheshire, England.

@deanahassanein Are you all as confused as I am? #watermelon #palestine #starbucks #boycottstarbucks ♬ original sound – Deana Hassanein

A Starbucks spokesperson told Snopes the mug was released in May 2023 in the U.K. as part of its summer line. The Daily Dot reached out to Starbucks for comment.

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*First Published: Jan 17, 2024, 4:57 pm CST