Oscar nominee James Cromwell superglued himself to a New York City Starbucks counter in protest of the fact that the company charges extra to use plant-based milk in drinks.
In a protest that was live-streamed to Facebook by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) activists, the “L.A. Confidential” actor superglued himself to the counter before delivering a statement about the company’s surcharge for vegan milk options and its impact on both the environment and on communities of color.
Cromwell, who can be seen wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “free the animals,” argued that vegan milk options were better for the environment. He also claimed that charging more for them was discriminatory — particularly because minorities suffer from lactose intolerance at a higher rate than white Americans do — but also because he felt that those who chose vegan options as a matter of conscience were being penalized for making a moral choice.
“When will you stop raking in huge profits while customers, animals and the environment suffer?” Cromwell asked, arguing that in order to provide the dairy products used at Starbucks, animals were subjected to “violence.” “When will you stop penalizing people for their ethnicities, their morals?
The protest concluded with a chant: “Save the planet, save the cows. Stop the vegan upcharge now!”
Cromwell and one other PETA activist — who had also glued himself to the counter — unattached themselves without incident about 30 minutes later. The report did not indicate whether any charges were filed, although a similar protest at the company’s Seattle headquarters had led to the arrest of two protesters.
Legendary musician Paul McCartney has also called on Starbucks to end the surcharge for plant-based milks, although he opted to write a letter rather than glue himself to a cafe counter.
“It recently came to my attention that Starbucks in the USA has an extra charge for plant-based milks as opposed to cow’s milk,” McCartney wrote earlier this year. “I must say this surprised me as I understand that in other countries like U.K. and India, there is the same charge for both types of milk and I would like to politely request that you consider this policy also in Starbucks USA. My friends at PETA are campaigning for this to happen … I sincerely hope that for the future of the planet and animal welfare you are able to implement this policy.”