Thandie Newton criticises Starbucks over statue of '19th century black child wearing a loincloth and safari hat'

Starbucks apologised and said they have removed the figure

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The Independent Online

Thandie Newton has criticised Starbucks for featuring a statue of a black child wearing a loincloth and safari hat, holding a basket of Colombian coffee beans, at its till-point.

The actress took to Twitter to share a picture of the figure which she may have been suggesting was reminiscent of slavery, given the product of coffee beans it was cradling and the clothing it was wearing.

Newton captioned the image: “Seriously Starbucks? At the counter – Loin cloth and Safari hat on a black child. Happy New Year circa 19th century.”

According to the Daily Mail, the statue was placed in a London Soho branch of the coffee house.

Starbucks responded to the tweet apologising and said they are now investigating the incident having removed the figure.

Newton, 43, is best known for her roles in Crash, The Pursuit of Happyness and Mission: Impossible II. 

She has previously spoken about the racist abuse she faced growing up as one of the only black children in her town in Cornwall where her family would be subject to racist taunts on the street.

She told The Times: “The story of living in Penzance as the only black family would make a fabulous sitcom if there had been a little more humour.”

A representative for Starbucks told The Independent: “Serving as a welcoming place for everyone is core to who we are as a company. As we became aware of the offence, we immediately removed the figure from our store. 

“We aim to provide an inclusive environment for all customers and communities in which we serve, and we are working with our partners (employees) to avoid similar incidents from happening in the future. We apologise for any offence caused.”