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Starbucks Fires Barista After Police Receive Coffee Cup Labeled ‘Pig’

Plus, Thanksgiving grease floods homes with sewage, and more news to start your day

A Starbucks coffee cup on a table.
Starbucks suspended and then fired an employee for giving a police officer coffee cups labeled “PIG” in Oklahoma.
Photo: Prachana Thong-on/Shutterstock

Starbucks fires barista after police officer receives coffee cup with “pig” printed on label

Starbucks has once again found itself in hot water following a brush with local law enforcement. Last Thursday, an Oklahoma police officer working on Thanksgiving went to a Starbucks in the city of Glenpool to buy coffee as a thank-you gesture for the emergency dispatchers who were on the holiday shift with him. When he received his order, he saw the word “PIG” printed on the cups’ labels, according to the Kiefer, Oklahoma, police chief, Johnny O’Mara, who took to Facebook to call out Starbucks for the perceived slight.

After he called the store in question, the manager of the Starbucks store offered to reprint the cup labels, O’Mara wrote in his now-deleted post, but that was an insufficient apology, KTUL-TV reports. “What irks me is the absolute and total disrespect for a police officer who, instead of being home with family and enjoying a meal and a football game, is patrolling his little town,” O’Mara wrote in the Facebook post.

Starbucks replied to O’Mara’s post with an apology, and in a subsequent statement revealed that the Starbucks barista deemed responsible for the “pig” labels had been fired: “The Starbucks partner who wrote this offensive word on a cup used poor judgement and is no longer a partner after this violation of company policy.” The police officer who purchased the coffee said the barista had apologized to him personally, saying it was meant to be a joke shared privately with a coworker, KJRH reports. O’Mara, who appeared on Fox News last Friday to talk about the incident, asked Starbucks to reconsider the barista’s firing. While it’s hard to imagine what other outcome could have resulted from the incident and O’Mara’s Facebook post about it, the police chief stressed a desire for “civility,” not termination, on air.

“We are hoping that we can take this moment where a mistake was made and turn it into something that highlights the ability to be civil with one another, that’s something that’s missing in a lot of society right now is the ability to just be civil,” he said.

And in other news…

  • The FDA has granted a temporary permit that allows ruby chocolate to be marketed as chocolate in the U.S., potentially clearing the way for the millennial-pink chocolate to finally make a bigger splash stateside. [FoodBev]
  • Stop pouring your cooking grease down the drain, lest you block your pipes and cause at least 80 homes to be flooded with Thanksgiving sewage!! [NYT]
  • Cyber Monday has brought with it a fresh cycle of discounts and promotional gimmicks, including this deal that will throw in a free Domino’s pizza for customers in Miami who order a Pixel phone today. [Fast Company]
  • How the trade war is affecting Maine’s blueberry business. [NBC News]
  • A Kentucky company is recalling more than 120,000 pounds of bacon and ready-to-eat turkey because they contain soy, an allergen not listed on the products’ labels. [CNN]
  • Kermit the Frog is CANCELED — the internet’s new favorite meme to illustrate the concept of “sipping tea” is Baby Yoda drinking soup. [CNET]
  • This dude spent his Thanksgiving making a Tesla Cybertruck out of mashed potatoes. Elon Musk could never!!!

All AM Intel Coverage [E]