A Facebook post purported to be written by a black Starbucks employee from Atlanta named Shanell Rivers that has been passed around 4chan and elsewhere on social media is fake, the coffee company says.
“Nobody by the name of Shanell Rivers works for, or has worked for, Starbucks,” the company said in a statement to Heavy. “These posts are fake, and were created with malicious intent. We are working with local authorities to determine how these fake posts were created and circulated.”
The post began to spread on social media Sunday. In the post, a woman named Shanell Rivers writes, “When you work in Starbucks in Atlanta and did the following this week.” Rivers then lists a series of things, including spitting in a white woman’s coffee, putting blood in the “strawberry jam of a white man’s bagel” and pocketing an extra $94 by overcharging.
You can see the full post below:
According to the Washington Post, the controversy spread from the web to real life when threats were made by phone to a store in the Atlanta suburb of Brookhaven, Georgia, where social media posters have claimed “Shanell Rivers” works. The store closed two hours early on Sunday and Brookhaven Police Major Brandon Gurley told The Post that police have put extra patrols in the area. Gurley also told the newspaper that the Brookhaven Police Department is investigating how the false information spread.
Starbucks has responded to several posters on Facebook and Twitter who have reported the post to the company.
“This post is completely false and created maliciously. Starbucks does not have a partner (employee) by the name Shanell Rivers. We are working with local authorities to determine how these fake posts were created and circulated,” Starbucks wrote on Facebook.
On Twitter, Starbucks wrote, “These posts are completely false and created maliciously. Starbucks does not have a partner (employee) by the name Shanell Rivers.”
In another reply, the company said, “We do not have an employee by that name, and these screenshots are fake.”
They thanked several people for telling them about the posts, writing, “We understand your concern and can assure you that this post is completely false and created maliciously. Starbucks does not have a partner (employee) by the name Shanell Rivers.”
On 4chan, users posted the screenshot with a title, “Let’s get her fired.” The screenshot was also shared on the subreddit The_Donald, the Reddit group for Trump supporters. Angry Twitter users have posted the name, age, phone number and address of a woman who lives in the Atlanta area with a similar name, accusing her of being the Facebook user who made the post.
There is a Facebook page with the same name and profile photo as the one in the screenshot, but it is not clear if it is an account for a real person. The account was created in April 2017. The screenshot shows that the post was made on a Facebook group called “White People Vs Black People (The Original).
One of the photos on the account appears to be linked to an unrelated Instagram profile. A screenshot of another one of her posts, in which she claims to be an ISIS supporter, makes it seem likely that the account was created as a troll, either to make Starbucks look bad, or to rile up social media users on the right.
Starbucks has said that the company has contacted authorities. Many people on social media are tweeting at Atlanta Police and FBI Atlanta about the posts.
“Please investigate Shanell Rivers who works at @Starbucks in Atlanta. Admits to putting feces & blood into people’s food and drinks!” wrote one Twitter user.
Another wrote, “Dear @Atlanta_Police, please note that this woman Shanell Rivers is admitting to past crimes and her intention to continue knowingly endangering the lives of customers based on their race. Possible hate crime.”