Viral social media hoax closes Starbucks location, prompts police investigation

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. — A viral social media hoax closed a Georgia Starbucks location and led to a police investigation, WAGA-TV reports.

In the post, which originally appeared in a Facebook group called “White People Vs. Black People (The Orginal),” a person using the name Shanell Rivers said they were an employee of an Atlanta Starbucks. Rivers claimed that she was targeting white customers by tainting their food and drinks.

Rivers claimed she spit in a woman’s macchiato, put blood on a man’s bagel and put dog poop in a child’s hot chocolate.

The outrage led to a Starbucks in Brookhaven to close a few hours early after threats were made to the store, according to the Washington Post.

Starbucks said on Twitter, “Nobody by the name of Shanell Rivers works for Starbucks. These posts are fake. We are working with local authorities to determine how these fake posts were created and circulated.”

Major Brandon Gurley, of the Brookhaven Police Department, told WAGA-TV they are investigating the social media post and are working with Starbucks and the local chain.

“We are working to identify the true identity of the person or persons responsible for the postings so that we can better understand their motives,” Gurley said.