The growing anti-immigration sentiment permeating the country leaves newcomers to the United States facing discrimination in ever more imaginative ways. Now, they have to deal with fake Starbucks ads targeting them as well. The fake ads are being used to target “Dreamers,” or people protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The fake ads declare Aug. 11 “Dreamer Day.” Some of the fake posters claimed that “undocumented Americans” could visit participating locations and use the coupon code “UNAFRAID” to get a free Grande (or Venti) cold beverage. Other ads claim, “All undocumented Americans will receive any item on the Starbucks menu 40 percent off.”
The plot was apparently hatched on 4chan last week. 4Chan, an anonymous online forum, has been dubbed the “ninth circle of hell” by The Washington Post. The site is the source that encouraged people to microwave their iPhones back in 2014 and has been blamed for leaking stolen nude photographs of various celebrities.
Someone on the site posted about creating the faux holiday on the /pol/ message board. One commenter said that “Dreamer Day” was the best name because “liberals love that term down here in Socal.” The plot was hatched in hopes of “getting ICE involved,” as one user replied. Another user wrote, “Even if this doesn’t work it will still be a good publicity scare.”
A 4chan user posted one of the fake posters last week, calling the plot “Operation #borderfreecoffee day.” Some people thought that the posters were real at first. Some Twitter accounts tweeted about the “Dreamer Day.” However, some people noticed that Frappuccino was spelled wrong on one of the fake posters.
People are posting warnings about these fake Starbucks ads on Twitter. Starbucks has officially stated that “Dreamer Day” is fake and that the company is investigating the source of the ads. The company’s Twitter account has responded directly to users who have shared the false advertisement. One response from the company read, “Starbucks is not sponsoring any such event. Please do not spread misinformation.”
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz previously shared the coffee chain’s support for Dreamers and refugees. Schultz also announced that Starbucks would be hiring 10,000 refugees by 2022. At the time, he said, “At Starbucks, we are proud to call them partners and to help them realize their own American Dream.”