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Fake Starbucks coupons circulate online promising free coffee for black customers

Sarah Whitten
Fake Starbucks coupons have begun circulating on social media in the wake of protests over the arrests of two black men who had asked to use a Starbucks restroom.

Fake Starbucks coupons have begun circulating on social media in the wake of protests over the arrests of two black men who had asked to use a Starbucks restroom.

The coupons, which feature images of Starbucks beverages, the brand's iconic color green and bar codes, appear to offer "people of color" or "African-American heritage" free drinks.

"This is completely false and in no way associated with Starbucks," a Starbucks spokeswoman told CNBC.

The images are being shared on 4chan, a website that gained notoriety for spreading pro-Trump memes and messages during the 2016 presidential election.

In 2017, members of this online community also attacked Starbucks, promoting "Dreamer Day," where immigrants would be given discounts. It was also a hoax.

The coffee giant has been under fire since a video of the two black men being arrested Thursday at a Starbucks in Philadelphia went viral over the weekend. The woman who posted the video said that staff at the coffee shop had called police because the two men had not ordered anything while they waited for a friend to arrive. Starbucks said earlier this week that the manager of the shop was "no longer at that store."

Starbucks said Tuesday it will be closing all of its company-owned restaurants in the U.S. during the afternoon of May 29 to conduct a racial-bias education program.