A man who walked into Starbucks in Islamic dress says he experienced discrimination while ordering coffee.
Niquel Johnson gave his Islamic name, “Aziz,” to a Starbucks barista at a store in Philadelphia. However, Johnson said that he never heard his name called out.
Johnson realized the name written on his cup was “ISIS,” the acronym for the Islamic State terrorist group.
“I was shocked and angry. I felt it was discrimination,” Johnson said in a statement.
Following the incident, Johnson, who was a regular visitor to the Starbucks on Germantown Avenue addressed an email complaint, including his phone number, but says the matter was worsened by Starbucks’ muted response.
According to reports, a Starbucks' representative said, “we don’t believe this was a case of discrimination or profiling” as the barista had “mistakenly spelled [the name] incorrectly.”
In line with the incident, Johnson added that Starbucks only offered an apology to him. And in the phone call, a district manager in Philadelphia, Brian Dragone, claimed that the company had earlier resolved the issue with Johnson’s niece Alora — a person Johnson says doesn’t actually exist.
“I have no explanation for that. We’re going to have to figure that out on our end who that was who we spoke to,” Dragone stated in a recording of the call.
“I just think your colleague is making this story up,” Johnson replied in a follow-up statement.
“This can’t be resolved by a simple apology at this point," he added.
Johnson is now considering legal action towards the incident. This is due to the same issue with a Latino man and a person with a stutter who also described similar abuse at Starbucks.