Starbucks apologized to Thandie Newton after she tweeted a photo showing the statue of a black child in a loin cloth on a restaurant counter in London. The statue was spotted on New Year’s Eve and also featured a basket full of Colombian coffee beans as a part of the display.
Thandie Newton, an actress, tweeted to Starbucks to register her angst about the statue of the black child in a loin cloth. The big box coffee chain responded to the complaint by the star very quickly, Fox News reports. In a direct tweet to Newton, Starbucks said that they were “very concerned” about the statue incident, “can’t apologize enough,” and are in the process or pulling the black child loin cloth statue and investigating the incident.
“Seriously @Starbucks? At the counter – Loin cloth and Safari hat on a black child. Happy New Year circa 19th century.”
— Thandie Newton (@thandienewton) January 4, 2016
According to a biography of Thandie Newton on IMDb, the actress was born in London and is the daughter of a “black Zimbabwean mother,” Nyasha, and Nick Newton, a white British father. Her full name, Thandiwe, means beloved. Newton began her life in Zambia, but the family relocated to the United Kingdom due to the ongoing political unrest in the country. She enrolled in the Art Educational School in London to study dance as a child, but she was forced to discontinue classes after a back injury.
After recovering from the injury, Thandie Newton started to audition for acting roles and landed her first gig in Flirting in 1991. When she had an acting credit under her belt, she moved to Los Angeles with her boyfriend to look for more work in the movies.
Her British accent reportedly became an obstacle in getting selected for more roles, so she returned to the UK and earned an anthropology degree at Cambridge University. Between college semesters, she kept up with her acting and started to get noticed by the industry. She was once voted one of the “10 Sexiest Women of the Year” by Black Men Magazine. In 2002, Thandie was ranked number 48 on Stuff magazine’s “102 Sexiest Women in the World” list.
Newton has two daughters and one son with husband Ol Parker. Her daughters are Ripley Parker and Nico Parker, and her son is named Booker Jombe Parker.
“One of her fondest memories is watching her mother get dressed in her traditional African garb because it taught her black pride,” according to IMDb.
The Thandie Newton complaint against Starbucks is just one in a string of controversies that have sprung up around the upscale coffee house. In late November, the chain became the focus of ire from Christians who were upset about the plain red cups used to celebrate the Christmas season. Some customers then took issue with holiday polar bear cookies that they felt looked more like the animal was bleeding from the neck than wearing a festive red scarf.
— Indy People (@TheIndyPeople) January 7, 2016
Gun rights advocates have also long been vocal Starbucks opponents due to the stance the business has taken on allowed concealed carry inside its stores. Starbucks Race Together campaign in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests also became highly controversial and short-lived. Earlier this month, a video of an employee of the coffee chain went viral after a customer caught the staffer stealing credit card information — the worker admitted to the dirty deed on camera.
What do you think of the Starbucks incident and the apology to Thandie Newton?
[Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]