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Starbucks Has Reportedly ‘Suspended’ Employee Who Wrote ‘PIG’ On Police Officer’s Cup
Beverage cups featuring the logo of Starbucks Coffee are seen in the new flagship store on 42nd Street August 5, 2003 in New York City.
Stephen Chernin via Getty Images

On Thanksgiving Thursday, an Oklahoma police officer went to a Starbucks in Glenpool to grab drinks for dispatchers who were working the holiday. When the officer received his drinks, the word “PIG” was printed in all caps on the side of the cup where one would typically find the customer name.

Following the incident, Kiefer Police Chief Johnny O’Mara took to Facebook, where he shared a photo of the cup and rebuked anti-police culture:

So… One of my on-duty officers decides to do something nice for our dispatchers. It’s Thanksgiving Day; our dispatchers are under appreciated as it is. My officer goes to Starbucks to get the dispatchers coffee as a thank you for all they do (especially when they’re working a holiday.)

This is what he gets for being nice.

What irks me is the absolute and total disrespect for a police officer who, instead of being home with family and enjoying a meal and a football game, is patrolling his little town.

This cup of coffee for a “pig” is just another little flag. It’s another tiny symptom and a nearly indiscernible shout from a contemptuous, roaring and riotous segment of a misanthropic society that vilifies those who stand for what’s right and glorifies the very people who would usher in the destruction of the social fabric. It’s another tiny pinprick into the heart of men and women who are asking themselves more often: “Why am I doing this?”

Just pour the coffee, please. Are we at a point where a task as simple as pouring an exceptionally overpriced cup of coffee is so complicated that it cannot be accomplished without “expressing oneself?”

As a side note, I called the store and was told they’d be happy to “replace the coffee with a correct label.” The proverb “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” came to mind.

Thank you, first responders, for risking it all this Thanksgiving away from your families. If you’re looking for coffee, use a place where you pour your own and you’re certain of what’s in it. Stay safe; go home.

The post has been shared more than 30,000 times as of publication. As one would expect, a vast majority of the comments are either condemnatory toward the anonymous Starbucks employee or expressing thanks for the work of officers and dispatchers.

In the comments below the post, the official Starbucks Facebook account replied:

This is totally unacceptable and offensive to all law enforcement. We are deeply sorry and have apologized directly to the officer who experienced this. We have launched an internal investigation into this matter and our leaders would like to connect with you directly to apologize to you and the entire department. We invite you to send us a private message so that we may connect you with our leadership.

Starbucks also issued an official statement on Thursday, which reads:

This is absolutely unacceptable, and we are deeply sorry to the law enforcement officer who experienced this. We have also apologized directly to him and connected with the Chief of the Kiefer Police Department as well to express our remorse. The Starbucks partner who wrote this offensive word on a cup used poor judgement and is no longer a partner after this violation of company policy.

This language is offensive to all law enforcement and is not representative of the deep appreciation we have for police officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.

According to Starbucks’ own website, the term “partner” is used to describe employees. With this definition in mind, the coffee giant’s statement seems to indicate that the individual who wrote “PIG” on the police officer’s cup has been fired. However, there has been no official word regarding the status of the employee except that they have been “suspended … pending the outcome of [an] investigation,” according to Tulsa World.

The officer who received the “PIG” cup reportedly told KTUL that the employee contacted him and apologized, claiming that the insult was simply a joke. According to Chief O’Mara, who spoke with a reporter from KJRH, the barista was trying to prank a fellow employee.

O’Mara stated: “Her intention was to see if the barista would yell out ‘PIG’ when they announced that the order was ready. She said that it was not intended for the officer to see the word.”

On Friday, Starbucks released a second statement about partnering with Kiefer law enforcement.

“Starbucks and the Kiefer Police Department are committed to using this regrettable incident as an opportunity to leverage our shared platforms to promote greater civility. In the coming days, Starbucks will be meeting with the Kiefer Police Department to begin discussing ways to work together, including a jointly hosted Coffee with a Cop event at Starbucks where local law enforcement can meet with baristas and members of the community to discuss the critical role dispatchers and police offers play in keeping our communities safe,” the statement reads. “Together with law enforcement agencies, Starbucks will jointly look for educational opportunities for our partners across the United States to promote better understanding and respect.”

Although the word “pig” as a slur for law enforcement has a long history, stretching all the way back to the early-1800s, according to Ron Kurtus, it didn’t enter mainstream vernacular until approximately 1968:

Starting in August 1968 and for a number of years afterwards, police officers were called pigs by young people, the disenchanted, and even the media. This came about when a group who called themselves the Yippies, protested near the 1968 National Democratic Convention in Chicago. They had a small pig as their presidential candidate, and when police disrupted their demonstration, they started to call the police pigs. The expression caught on.

Anti-police activists routinely use the word “pig” or use images of pigs to denigrate police officers. One of the more recent examples of this came when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has called out police brutality on multiple occasions, wore socks depicting pigs wearing police hats during a practice game in 2016.

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