Demon cups made by independent tattoo artist, not Starbucks
Social media posts claim Starbucks released satanic-themed cups for Christmas. This is false; the image was created by an independent tattoo artist who is not affiliated with Starbucks, and the coffee company confirmed to AFP it did not release this item.
"Starbucks Coffee releases their Baphomet Yule cups in time for Christmas -- under the theme: 'I LIKE MY COFFEE BLACK LIKE MY SOUL,'" a November 29, 2022 Facebook post says.
The claim is not new, it appeared in 2021 and 2016. It also circulated on Twitter in English, Spanish, Italian and French.
Krampus is a mythological figure, believed to have originated in Germany, and derived from the word "krampen," or "claw" in German.
The posts about demon-themed Starbucks cups resonate with theories pushed by followers of QAnon, a far-right movement that baselessly claims there is a global cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles.
Through a reverse image search, AFP was able to find a seven-year-old Reddit post showing an identical picture of the cups.
"My buddy Mike Tidwell drew it. He's a tattoo artist in Seattle. He likes to doodle on coffee cups between appointments," the original poster of the image said in a comment on Reddit.
A post on the artist's Instagram page, also from 2015, matches the image found on Reddit.
Tidwell confirmed to AFP he was the author of the drawings.
"I'm not affiliated with Starbucks at all," the Seattle tattoo artist, who has been in the business for 23 years and never worked as a coffee barista, told AFP.
"I got bored one day and decided to pick up a Sharpie marker and draw on my cup. I posted it on social media, as did my friends and it got noticed by the public," he said.
"And along with it came the rumors that Starbucks made them. Totally false," he added.
Starbucks also confirmed to AFP in an email that the image did not show "a Starbucks cup or a cup we have offered."
All holiday cups released by Starbucks over the last 25 years can be seen here. Controversy erupted in 2016 over red cups designed by the company for the holiday.
This year's coffee cups can be found, here.
AFP has debunked other false claims about holiday traditions and satanism.