The man, who gave the name ‘Aziz’, was quick to file a complaint.
A Muslim man, Abdul Aziz Johnson, walked into a Philadephia Starbucks wearing traditional Islamic attire to order. But instead of writing “Aziz” on the drink, the Starbucks employee wrote “ISIS” on his order slip, according to the Philadelphia branch of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The man is a member of the Germantown Masjid, a mosque near the store. Their official Twitter account posted the account online, saying in part, “Clear discrimination that needs to be addressed.”
One of the Admin, who was dressed in Islamic attire, recently bought a drink at @Starbucks and they wrote ISIS on the cup
Clear discrimination that needs to be addressed. #MUSLIMSNOTISIS pic.twitter.com/qOb3ynUD0o
— Germantown Masjid (@GtownMasjid) August 29, 2019
In addition to what Starbucks claims was a mistaken spelling, an odd thing happened after the drink order was printed. When his order was ready, Johnson said they announced them by drink type rather than using his name, which, as anyone who has ever ordered drinks at Starbucks knows, is not the norm.
“I was shocked and angry. I felt it was discrimination,” Johnson told The Washington Post.
After news of the incident hit social media, another strange thing happened. Starbucks reached out to Johnson and apologized, claiming they’d already rectified the situation in conversation with Johnson’s niece — a person who, according to Johnson, isn’t an actual person. In fact, he’d left his name and number on a complaint to the store, so any story about Starbucks getting a hold of, and discussing the matter with, anyone other than Johnson is hard to believe.
“No, this can’t be resolved by a simple apology at this point,” Johnson said. “I just think your colleague is making this story up.”
But Starbucks took the position that it was simply an honest mistake. “After investigating, we don’t believe this was a case of discrimination or profiling,” Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges said in a statement. “The customer approached and provided the name Aziz. The barista mistakenly spelled it incorrectly. We have connected with Mr. Johnson and apologized for this regrettable mistake.”
Another curious fact is that the incident happened in the same city where, in 2018, another Starbuck’s store’s manager called 911 after two black men asked for the code to use the restroom before they’d ordered anything to drink. They’d been waiting for a business associate to arrive before ordering but were instead handcuffed and walked out of the store instead. This incident prompted all 8000 stores to close for discrimination training, however, it seems more training may be in order.
According to the Philly Voice, Muslim civil rights group, CAIR, responded to the incident saying, “CAIR-Philadelphia, the local chapter of the country’s preeminent Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, with 35 affiliates nationwide, finds Starbucks’ behavior in this incident exceedingly deficient. After the incident in 2018 when two African American men were arrested in another Philadelphia Starbucks, one would have expected a greater commitment to religious and racial diversity from Starbucks staff. Instead, we get bigoted slurs against the religion of 1.62 billion people, and the fastest growing religion in the United States.”