Starbucks employee ‘wrote racist word on black customer’s drink’ and suspended

A woman has been left traumatised after she was allegedly subjected to racist abuse on her Starbucks drink label.

Monique Pugh had ordered a vent caramel frappuccino from a branch of the worldwide chain coffee shop in Annapolis, Maryland, US.

But she was given the shock of her life when, having told the staff her name as is customary when ordering a drink from there so that it can be written on the drink, she was given a drink with a racist word written on it.

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The drink's label reportedly had “monkey” on it, and the woman claims to have been the only “black person in the store”.

Speaking about her experience to Today.com, she said: “My heart just drops – it was one of those in-the-moment things where your heart just drops and you’re just like, ‘What?’”

She immediately spoke to a member of staff, as she claims her drink order was wrong and said it needed remaking.

She claims that barista was “very combative and argumentative”, adding: “I asked him why I was the only black person in the store and ‘monkey’ was written on my cup?

“He just shrugged and said it was a mistake. Just with that attitude and his response, oh it’s so triggering.

“Customers were looking at me and I was just embarrassed.”

She claims no apology was offered but a refund was given – and the shop manager offered her a free drink and a sandwich.

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A Starbucks spokesman confirmed that the incident did happen and that an investigation has been launched by a third party company called Impeccable Brands – the actual owner of that franchise store.

The Starbucks corporate team said it has contacted Ms Pugh to apologise.

Amit Sehgal from Impeccable Brands said: “While we have investigated the incident and believe that our employee mistakenly labelled your cup in this way, regardless, I understand the hurt and frustration this has caused you.

“We can do better.

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“As an immediate step, I have taken action with the employee and have addressed their behaviour with them directly.

“While I know none of this will be able to take away the hurt you may have felt that day and the days following, I hope that our actions show that we take this very seriously and value what you have shared.”

Ms Pugh added: “This whole situation, you really have to speak up because companies, they’ll pledge millions to make it seem like they’re helping people and minorities but when something like this comes up they’ll try to sweep it under the rug.”

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