After a confrontation between a Florida Trump supporter and an African-American barista went viral this week, Trump supporters have put Starbucks in their sights, telling employees that their names are “Trump” in an effort to force workers to yell the name of the President-elect.
According to CNN, the hashtag #TrumpCup isn’t anything new, but the phrase caught fire this week on conservative social media. If a Starbucks employee complies with a customer's order, conservatives post photos of the Trump cups online as badges of honor; if they refuse, the confrontations have turned increasingly hostile. After one Trump supporter videotaped an employee refusing to make his order, the employee could be seen calling the police.
In a strange, perverse way, the #TrumpCup mimics a powerful campaign launched by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this year. But while BLM sought to bring awareness to the plight of African-Americans in this country Trump supporters—like in the video above—seem to be using the president-elect’s name to gloat over the victory, and intimidate people of color.
Starbucks has since gotten wind of the #TrumpCup movement, stating that the company does not actually require employees to shout out the purported names of their customers.
"Over the years, writing customer names on cups and calling out their names has been a fun ritual in our stores," a spokesperson for the company told CNN. "Rarely has it been abused or taken advantage of. We hope and trust that our customers will continue to honor that tradition."
Still, despite the intent of these Trump supporters, critics have been poking holes in the logic of the protest online. Rather than boycotting the company, #TrumpCup enthusiasts continue to shell out $5.25 for their venti pumpkin spice lattes, subsequently supporting Starbucks’ business.
And while some workers have opted to call the police after being harassed, others have turned to their own form of justice.