A sleek, corporate-looking flier advertising a whopping 40% off at Starbucks for any undocumented immigrants who use the code “UNAFRAID” on August 11 has been going around the web. The ad claims to be part of an effort to “help Starbucks fight bigotry.”
There’s just one problem. It’s totally bogus, and it looks like it exists solely to trick undocumented immigrants into revealing themselves.
For the past few days, Starbucks has vigorously pushed back against the fake ad, asking its social media followers—some seeming to celebrate the “promotion,” others decrying it—not to spread the false rumor and telling the Associated Press on Monday that it has no basis in reality.
BuzzFeed News uncovered evidence on Sunday that the ad appears to have been concocted on 4Chan by people looking to, in the words of one poster, “name a liberal place for all illegals to go at once and demand free stuff.”
In choosing Starbucks, the 4Chan posters picked a perfect medium for their cruel plot. The hoax is reminiscent of other awkward civic efforts made by the company, such as its much-decried (and quickly discontinued) “race together” conversation-starting initiative. Similarly, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has been a longtime supporter of immigration efforts such as President Obama’s DACA program.
On Reddit’s /r/starbucks page, users quickly debunked the prank flyer, with one noting that the fake flyer appeared to use an old corporate logo, and another pointing out that the word “Frappuccino” is misspelled.