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When a Starbucks employee allegedly mocked a Trump supporter, fellow Trump fans came out in droves to protest—and ultimately buy Starbucks coffee.
Saturday’s demonstration began after Kayla Hart went to a Starbucks in Charlotte and ordered a drink while wearing a Trump shirt. One barista wrote “Build a Wall” on her cup and the staff reportedly laughed at her as she walked out. Hart felt like she was being bullied for supporting President Donald Trump.
“I just found it really sad that I can’t wear a T-shirt with our president without being made fun of,” Hart said, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Boycott in Order Here Starbucks Baristas in Trouble for Putting ‘Build a Wall’ on Trump Supporter’s Cup https://t.co/24Qbeu1YWB— Trumster45 (@trumpster451) June 16, 2017
Suffice to say, local Trump fans were furious at Starbucks for poking fun at Hart. So in response, dozens came to the Starbucks on Saturday, sitting at tables while wearing pro-Trump paraphernalia.
The sit-in started as a proper protest at first, with supporters taking up space in the cafe. But one after another, protesters began ordering coffee under Donald Trump’s, Mike Pence’s, and Jeff Session’s names, which baristas wrote on their drinks. Soon enough, the mood in the room relaxed. The protesters had shown they weren’t going to be bullied. They also gave Starbucks their money.
“It was successful and I can tell you we had a very friendly dialogue!” participant James Tatro told the Charlotte Observer.
However, many Trump supporters wanted more than just a hangout session. Some are adamant about boycotting the business.
We have wallets too Starbucks employee belittling women wearing Trump t-shirt. This is disgusting, we can boycott them. Try Dunkin Donuts— Quicks (@quickslanding) June 26, 2017
I don't buy you "piss poor coffee" you piece of $hit. Calling for a nation wide boycott until Starbucks files bankruptcy. Shut'em down.— AmericanMarineGySgt (@rodger_sutton) June 25, 2017
Meanwhile, anti-Trump Twitter users are baffled. After all, the initial protest ended up supporting the business in question.
Wait. What? They "punished" Starbucks by ... buying Starbucks?— foryourreadingdis (@foryourreading) June 25, 2017
This is kind of like when they called for a boycott of a Broadway play that was sold out for 6 months in advance.! ¯_(ツ)_/¯— Colleen Li (@Cozy1950) June 25, 2017
Starbucks has since apologized for the barista’s original joke, and the company has vowed to take customer complaints seriously.
“This experience is absolutely not consistent with our standards or the respectful experience we want to provide to our customer,” Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesman told the Charlotte Observer.
This wasn’t the first time Trump supporters boycotted Starbucks by buying Starbucks, either. After the election, supporters trolled the company by telling baristas their names were “Trump,” then uploaded videos of dissenting employees to social media.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.