Over the weekend, Starbucks faced some major backlash when a video of two black men getting arrested at one of the company’s Philadelphia locations went viral. Apparently, the men in question were simply waiting for a friend, and an employee called the police because the men hadn’t purchased anything and were “trespassing.”
Naturally, the video clip sparked public outrage. In an effort to contain the negative publicity, Starbucks announced on Tuesday that the chain would be closing its stores nationwide on the afternoon of May 29 in order to “conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores.”
Seemingly in response to this news, fake Starbucks coupons pandering to “people of color” or “African-American heritage” have begun circulating online.
“This is completely false and in no way associated with Starbucks,” a Starbucks representative told Business Insider of the coupons.
The coupons promise a free coffee to “persons of African American heritage and/or identity at time of exchange,” and instructs baristas to use coupon code 1488 — a number which is associated with white supremacy groups.
4chan’s Politically Incorrect message board, /pol/, seems to be responsible for the fake flyers. The group also promoted fake news and pro-Trump memes during the 2016 election and even created ads encouraging Hillary Clinton voters to vote via text message.
4chan has targeted Starbucks before. Last year, /pol/ created fake coupons for the nonexistent “Starbucks DREAMers Day” which promised free coffee to undocumented immigrants.
If you see these flyers floating around, though, it’s best to not engage and simply report them — people who go to ridiculous lengths to create realistic-looking advertisements to serve their own trollish purposes aren’t really capable of reasonable conversation.
Also, congrats on your wicked “prank,” trolls: you’ve potentially mildly inconvenienced people and maybe even helped them get a free courtesy coffee. That’ll show ’em!