The actress Thandie Newton was scandalized by a statue at Starbucks featuring, as she described it, a “loin cloth and safari hat on a black child.” She snapped a photo of the cringe-worthy display and sent Starbucks a tweet asking what’s the deal with this “Happy New Year circa 19th century” paraphernalia?
Starbucks shot back an tweet to Newton in short order, apologizing for giving offense and saying it was investigating the matter. Starbucks quickly removed the statue. Newton is well-known, though it’s not as if she has millions of followers on social media — just under 30K, nothing to ignore, but still not a juggernaut. Would a non-famous person have received the same swift response from Starbucks? Probably — Starbucks has worked hard to be sensitive, even as it alienates those who feel sensitivity has gone too far. The comments on Newton’s post can be dispiriting to read. But one lesson is clear: the power of a tweet keeps growing,
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— Thandie Newton (@thandienewton) January 4, 2016