An Iowa congressman punished for making racist comments got duped by a Twitter troll named 'MuellerDad69' who said he manages a Starbucks and discriminates against conservatives
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
- Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who's long voiced sympathy with white supremacist ideology, shared a post from what appeared to be an online troll on Facebook on Tuesday.
- The account, @MuellerDad69, claimed to be owned by a Starbucks manager who proudly discriminated against "social conservatives" by banning his employees from saying "Merry Christmas" to customers.
- Starbucks representative Reggie Borges told Insider that the Facebook post was a hoax and that employees are allowed to greet customers however the choose.
- "Our baristas are offered the autonomy to choose how to greet each person, which can be anything from 'the usual?' to 'Merry Christmas,'" Borges said. "No script is provided."
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Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who's long voiced sympathy with white supremacist ideology, shared a post from what appeared to be an online troll pretending to be a Starbucks manager on Tuesday.
The account, @MuellerDad69, claimed to be owned by a Starbucks manager who discriminated against "conservative Christians" by banning his employees from saying "Merry Christmas" to customers. Twitter has since suspended the account and Starbucks told Insider that it had no connection to the company.
"I'm the manager of a Starbucks in Charlotte NC. I have informed my employees that that they will be fired on the spot if I hear them say 'Merry Christmas' to any customers," @MuellerDad69 wrote. "I'm doing it because I personally dislike conservative Christians."
The same account has previously claimed to discriminate to against military service members and police officers who were customers at Starbucks.
Starbucks said the @MuellerDad69 account is fake and that the coffee company doesn't dictate how its employees welcome customers, including holiday greetings.
"Chris (@muellerdad) is not an employee of Starbucks and was impersonating a Starbucks store manager," representative Reggie Borges told Business Insider.
"Our baristas are offered the autonomy to choose how to greet each person, which can be anything from 'the usual?' to 'Merry Christmas,'" Borges continued. "No script is provided."
Starbucks is accustomed to backlash from the right, including on the subject of holiday greetings. In 2015, Starbucks minimalist red cups went viral after a video claimed that Starbucks "removed Christmas from their cups." The cups quickly became a topic of discussion for major publications, late-night talk show hosts, and Donald Trump, then a presidential candidate.
"No more 'Merry Christmas' at Starbucks," Trump said at a a pre-debate rally in Springfield, Illinois, at the time. "Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don't know. Seriously. I don't care."
The chain is also a repeat victim of Twitter trolling. In 2017, Starbucks shot down viral rumors that it was giving away free coffee to undocumented immigrants. In 2018, fake Starbucks coupons for customers of "African-American heritage" began circulating on social media.
King, who was stripped of his committee seats by his own party in January after making a series of racist comments, often taunts his political opponents online and traffics in conspiracy theories. Even some of King's most conservative Republican colleagues have publicly called on him to resign.
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