A Starbucks coffee shop in an Atlanta suburb was forced to temporarily close after receiving threats from customers deceived by a racist hoax, The Washington Post reports.
It began with a Facebook post in a group named “White People Vs Black People (The Original),” where a person claiming to be a black employee of Starbucks named Shanell Rivers described abhorrent behavior towards white customers, Patch explained.
The hoax listed six things claimed to have been done during the last week.
Spitting in a macchiato, defiling strawberry jam with blood, cleaning tables with a bathroom rag, sprinkling finely ground dog feces on hot chocolate, stealing from customers and licking bread were among the misconduct claimed.
The hoax was posted on a Reddit group of Donald Trump supporters, which helped launch it across social media.
“The incident marks a growing headache for law enforcement: accusations or claims of salacious behavior weaponized on social media and taken offline to produce real-world potential for harm,” The Post explained. “Such targeted false accusations are reminiscent of #Pizzagate, the debunked conspiracy theory that suggested that Washington pizza restaurant Comet Ping Pong was harboring a child sex ring involving Hillary Clinton. That online fever dream sparked hundreds of death threats against the restaurant’s owner and culminated on Dec. 4, 2016, when Edgar Welch fired three shots inside Comet Ping Pong as part of a self-proclaimed mission to rescue children.”
We appreciate your concern. These posts (one of which uses a stock photo that was pulled from Getty Images) are completely false and created maliciously. Starbucks does not have a partner (employee) by the name Shanell Rivers.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) January 8, 2018