Fact Check

Did Starbucks Release a Watermelon Mug to Support Palestinians After Hamas' Attack in Israel?

Sometimes a watermelon is just a watermelon.

Published Jan 17, 2024

 (Starbucks)
Image Via Starbucks
Claim:
Starbucks released a mug with a watermelon design following Hamas' attack in Israel in October 2023, as a way of showing support for Palestinians but also to try to cool down a supposed consumer boycott.
Context

Starbucks spokesperson Jaci Anderson told Snopes by email that the mug was launched in May of 2023 as part of the company's summer collection in the U.K. and that it had no tie to the Israel-Hamas war, which began months later in October following Hamas' attack in Israel.

On Jan. 17, 2024, users on X (formerly Twitter) claimed that Starbucks had released a new mug with a watermelon design.

According to the posts, the company made the watermelon mug available both as a way of showing support to Palestinians during the Israel-Hamas war but also to attempt to cool down any purported efforts to boycott the company. The watermelon was first used as a symbol of solidarity with Palestinians in 1967. The symbol emerged after the Six-Day War, Time.com reported.

However, Starbucks spokesperson Jaci Anderson told Snopes by email that the mug was launched in May of 2023 as part of the company's summer collection in the U.K., and that it had no tie to the conflict in the Middle East. She also said that the company sometimes sees seasonal merchandise being sold out of season when stock remains available, as is the case with the watermelon mug.

The watermelon mug appeared in an official Starbucks Instagram post on May 5, 2023. It was also shown in a user's TikTok video on the next day.

In other words, Starbucks released the watermelon mug months before Hamas' attack in Israel on Oct. 7, 2023 – the incident that ultimately led to the start of the war.

We previously reported the timeline of events that led to what some users labeled as a boycott of Starbucks. That story can be found here.

Posts Making the False Claim

One false post (archived) from the user @DrKarimWafa was on pace to surpass well over 50,000 likes.

Users on X claimed that Starbucks had released a new watermelon mug as a way of showing support to Palestinians and to cool down boycott efforts against the company.

Other users' posts (archived: 1 2 3) also received thousands of likes.

Users on X claimed that Starbucks had released a new watermelon mug as a way of showing support to Palestinians and to cool down boycott efforts against the company.

Users on X claimed that Starbucks had released a new watermelon mug as a way of showing support to Palestinians and to cool down boycott efforts against the company.

Users on X claimed that Starbucks had released a new watermelon mug as a way of showing support to Palestinians and to cool down boycott efforts against the company.

The protracted, often bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict exploded into a hot war on Oct. 7, 2023, when the militant Palestinian group Hamas launched a deadly attack on Israel and Israel retaliated by bombarding the Gaza Strip. More than 20,000 people, the vast majority of them Palestinians, were reportedly killed during the first two months of the war alone. The violence is driven by mutual hostilities and territorial ambitions dating back more than a century. The internet has become an unofficial front in that war and is rife with misinformation, which Snopes is dedicated to countering with facts and context. You can help. Read the latest fact checks. Submit questionable claims. Become a Snopes Member to support our work. We welcome your participation and feedback.

Sources

Federman, Josef, and Issam Adwan. “Hamas Surprise Attack out of Gaza Stuns Israel and Leaves Hundreds Dead in Fighting, Retaliation.” The Associated Press, 7 Oct. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/israel-palestinians-gaza-hamas-rockets-airstrikes-tel-aviv-11fb98655c256d54ecb5329284fc37d2.

Liles, Jordan. “Did Starbucks Lose $12B from Boycotts ‘Due to Its Support for Israel’?” Snopes, 8 Dec. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/news/2023/12/07/starbucks-12-billion-loss-due-to-israel/.

@pr3ppy_lifestyle_account. “New Starbucks Merch UK May 2023.” TikTok, 6 May 2023, https://www.tiktok.com/@pr3ppy_lifestyle_account/video/7230026514773855514.

@starbucksuae. “Get Summer Ready with Starbucks Summer Merch!” Instagram, 5 May 2023, https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cr2vJKzsqJf/.

Syed, Armani. “How the Watermelon Became a Symbol of Palestinian Solidarity.” Time.com, 20 Oct. 2023, https://time.com/6326312/watermelon-palestinian-symbol-solidarity/.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.