Coffee Giant Under Attack
|Windows smashed at local Starbucks branches
Two local Starbucks have had their windows smashed, following recent attacks on a number of the coffee chain’s branches in various parts of London.
The White City branch next to the BBC had its side window shattered in the early hours of Monday 5th January, while the store on Shepherd’s Bush Green was attacked on Thursday 15th January. Starbucks say none of their customers or employees were hurt but the White City branch remained closed for at least one day and both branches still have their smashed windows boarded up.
It is thought the incidents may be linked to a series of attacks against Starbucks earlier this month, when a group of protesters broke away from a rally to demonstrate against Israel’s offensive in Gaza and targeted branches in Piccadilly and Shaftesbury Avenue. Both cafes had their windows smashed and were looted. Closer to home, the Kensington High Street branch, opposite the Israeli embassy, also had its window shattered.
The attacks against Starbucks came after an SMS and Facebook campaign claimed the coffee chain gave hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Israel.
Starbucks strenuously denies the claim: "It is disheartening that calls for boycotts of Starbucks stores and products, which are based on blatant untruths, have had direct impacts on local economies and residents, and have also led to violent situations involving our stores, partners (employees) and customers,” said a Starbucks spokesperson.
"Our more than 160,000 partners and business associates around the globe have diverse views about a wide range of topics. Regardless of that spectrum of belief, Starbucks Coffee Company remains a non-political organisation. We do not support any political or religious cause.
Further, allegations that Starbucks provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army in any way are unequivocally false. Unfortunately, these rumours persist despite our best efforts to refute them,” the spokesperson said.
"What we do believe in, and remain focused on, is staying true to our company's long-standing heritage - simply connecting with our partners and customers over a cup of high quality coffee and offering the best experience possible to them - regardless of geographical location. Though our roots are in the United States, we are a global company with stores in 49 countries, including more than 230 stores in nine Middle Eastern countries. In countries where we do business, we are proud to be a part of the fabric of the local community -- working directly with
local partners who operate our stores, employing thousands of local citizens, serving millions of customers and positively impacting many others through our support of neighbourhoods and cities," Starbucks added.
Local police say the Starbucks offences are being investigated but that there is currently no evidence to link the White City and Shepherd's Bush Green incidents.
Anyone with any information should contact DC Reynolds on 0208 246 2842.
22 January 2009