‘Succession’ star glues hand to Starbucks counter in protest

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. plant-based / ˈplæntˌbeɪst / (adj.) – relating to food and other products that are made of plants

    Many restaurants have started offering plant-based versions of their regular dishes.

  2. capitalist / ˈkæp ɪ tl ɪst / (adj.) – relating to an economic system where businesses and industries are controlled by private individuals to earn profit

    Many critics believe that the capitalist system has never worked for the poor.

  3. surcharge / ˈsɜrˌtʃɑrdʒ / (n.) – an additional fee to the usual price of products and services

    There’s no surcharge for food deliveries within the city.

  4. rake in (something) / reɪk ɪn / (phrasal v.) – to earn a huge amount of money

    Francis rakes in more than $100,000 a year from his business.

  5. customization / ˌkʌs tə məˈzeɪ ʃən / (n.) – the act of changing something to make sure that it looks or works according to what a person wants or needs

    The store allows customization of leather products.


Read the text below.

Actor and activist James Cromwell has gone from “Succession’s” Uncle Ewan to real-life supergluin’ — pasting his hand to a midtown Manhattan Starbucks counter on Tuesday to protest the coffee chain’s extra charge for plant-based milk.

The 82-year-old Oscar nominee, known for “Babe: Pig in the City” and “L.A. Confidential,” channeled his role as the crotchety, anti-capitalist brother of a billionaire media mogul for the protest organized by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Cromwell sat on the Starbucks counter wearing a “Free the Animals” T-shirt and read a statement denouncing the surcharge for vegan milk alternatives.

“When will you stop raking in huge profits while customers, animals and the environment suffer?” he demanded as fellow activists streamed the protest on Facebook.

Cromwell glued his hand to the counter, then later used a knife to scrape it off. Police said there were no arrests.

Starbucks outlets in the United States charge 50 cents to a dollar more for drinks made with plant-based milks.

“Customers can customize any beverage on the menu with a non-dairy milk, including soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and oat milk for an additional cost (similar to other beverage customizations such as an additional espresso shot or syrup),” a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement. “Pricing varies market by market.”

The spokesperson said Starbucks respects customers’ right to voice their opinions “so long as it does not disrupt our store operations.”

Cromwell, nominated for an Academy Award for his role as the farmer in “Babe,” is a veteran protester who was charged with trespassing in 2017 for interrupting an orca show at SeaWorld in San Diego.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • How popular are plant-based products (ex. soy milk, vegan ice cream) in your country? Why do you think some consumers prefer plant-based alternatives? Discuss.
  • Do you think adding a surcharge for vegan alternatives is reasonable? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • In your opinion, how should companies respond to protests against their products or services? Discuss.
  • What is your opinion of environmental protesters (ex. their ideas are unrealistic, their ideas are reasonable)? Discuss.