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Starbucks withdraws controversial poster

Matthew Warren · 14 Oct 2011, 08:02

Published: 14 Oct 2011 10:38 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Oct 2011 08:02 GMT+02:00

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Starbucks France has run into trouble with an anti-pickpocketing poster which some customers found racist.

The poster by the American coffee company shows a man with dark skin surrounded by arrows pointing at a mobile phone, a laptop, a rucksack and a wallet.

The text on the poster reads: "Be on your guard against unusual behaviour from a stranger. Don't let pickpockets spoil your moment of relaxation at Starbucks. Keep an eye on your belongings."

A customer in a Paris branch of the store took offence when he saw the poster and alerted anti-racist group, SOS Racisme. The group demanded the withdrawal of the poster, saying it "targeted a minority" and attributed "delinquent behaviour" to them, reported newspaper Ouest-France.

Starbucks rushed to insist the man on the poster was supposed to represent a customer, not the thief. A similar poster shows a white woman instead of the man.

"The posters have been misunderstood," said a spokesperson. "People thought it was a pickpocket but the drawings represented clients."

Starbucks, which employs 1,000 people in France, has withdrawn the posters from its stores. 


Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

2011-10-19 11:17:45 by PatC
Bravo SOS Racisme, for setting back once again the cause of race relations. Why, exactly, is the white girl okay and the black man not? Either as customer or pickpocket?
2011-10-18 14:19:48 by nathan45
This is complete insanity comments one and two took the words right out of my mouth.
2011-10-15 05:16:57 by SysKoll
I suggest that all advertiser start using blond, white models. That will prove they are not racist. Right?
2011-10-14 19:55:52 by DrWPierceTV
"The poster by the American coffee company shows a man with dark skin surrounded by arrows pointing at a mobile phone, a laptop, a rucksack and a wallet." So if it only showed the light-skinned person it would have been ok? Is anyone else tired of this dictatorship of hypocrisy oppressing the people of Western civilization? I know I'm getting pretty tired of it. And anyways in regard to the dark-skinned pick-pocketer....if the shoe fits....
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