82-year-old actor James Cromwell, known for such roles as Farmer Arthur Hoggett in Babe and Dr. Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact, is in the public spotlight for a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) publicity stunt he participated in on Tuesday.
He sat on the counter of a Manhattan Starbucks with his hand glued to the counter, wearing a PETA t-shirt with the words "Free The Animals" on it. Cromwell and his companions were there to bring attention to the fact plant-based milk alternatives often come with an upcharge for the customer.
During his demonstration, Cromwell said:
"There's no reason for it except greed."
"Will you stop charging more for vegan milk?"
"When will you stop raking in huge profits while customers, animals and the environment suffer?"
In a statement, he further said:
"My friends at PETA and I are calling on Starbucks to stop punishing kind and environmentally conscious customers for choosing plant milks."
"We all have a stake in the life-and-death matter of the climate catastrophe, and Starbucks should do its part by ending its vegan upcharge."
You can view Cromwell's Starbucks escapade below:
Twitter was merciless in their takedown of Cromwell's stunt in particular and PETA in general.
I love oat milk, but this is a curious hill to die on\u2026.https://youtu.be/ls3UKVaLyzo\u00a0 via @YouTube— John Roberts (@John Roberts) 1652288323
pic.twitter.com/FggDrhOtnW— \u266a\u266b.....Celia.... \u266a\u266b (@\u266a\u266b.....Celia.... \u266a\u266b) 1652282939
Many questioned Cromwell's priorities, given the current attacks on reproductive rights and shortage of infant formula.
Actor James Cromwell is supergluing his hand to Starbucks counters over the higher price of vegan milk while there\u2019s a national shortage of baby formula. Priorities.pic.twitter.com/kxSSOTN2le— Liekitisn\u2019t (@Liekitisn\u2019t) 1652289773
Mothers can\u2019t get baby formula and he\u2019s protesting vegan milk prices!— Wookie (@Wookie) 1652291903
I mean he could channel that same protest energy towards a more pressing cause... like for example protecting reproductive rights?— BK Titanji #IAmAScientist\ud83c\udde8\ud83c\uddf2 (@BK Titanji #IAmAScientist\ud83c\udde8\ud83c\uddf2) 1652227297
A spokesperson for Starbucks said in a statement:
"Customers can customize any beverage on the menu with a non-dairy milk, including soymilk, coconutmilk, almondmilk, and oatmilk for an additional cost (similar to other beverage customizations such as an additional espresso shot or syrup)."
"Pricing varies market by market."
While there are alternatives for covering the extra cost of plant-based milk alternatives like raising prices slightly across the board, gluing one's hand to the counter and making a likely already overworked barista's job more difficult is not likely to make much of an impact on corporate-level decisions at Starbucks.
And aligning with an animal cruelty perpetuating organization like PETA—cited for their absurdly high kill rates at the animal rescues they run—is unlikely to persuade the public to your side.