(NEXSTAR) – Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell superglued himself to the counter of a Starbucks café in New York City on Tuesday to protest the chain’s policy of charging extra for plant-based milk.
The protest began shortly before 10 am EST, according to livestreamed footage which was shared to Facebook by PETA on Tuesday morning. After gluing himself to the café counter, Cromwell — who has appeared in “Babe,” “LA Confidential” and “Succession” — read a prepared statement in which he denounced Starbucks’ vegan-milk upcharge, calling it harmful to the environment and discriminatory toward those who suffer from lactose-intolerance, which affects people of color at a greater percentage, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“When will you stop raking in huge profits while customers, animals and the environment suffer?” said Cromwell, in part, while situated among a group of PETA-affiliated protestors near the Starbucks register. “When will you stop penalizing people for their ethnicities, their morals?”
After finishing his prepared statement, Cromwell and other activists began chanting, “Save the planet, save the cows. Stop the vegan upcharge now!”
Police officers eventually responded to the scene, telling protestors that the Starbucks district manager wanted them vacated from the property. Cromwell and John Di Leonardo, another activist who superglued himself to the counter, later unattached themselves about a half-hour after the protest began.
It’s unclear if the activists were facing any charges.
PETA had previously staged a similar protest in April, which resulted in the arrest of two activists who glued themselves to the counter of a Starbucks café at the company’s headquarters in Seattle. Just a few weeks before, PETA also teamed with Paul McCartney to urge Starbucks to end its policy of upcharging for alternative milks.
PETA, however, has been campaigning against Starbucks’ surcharge for years, arguing that it not only contributes to the support of dairy farmers and the veal industry, but that it unfairly discriminates against vegan customers. Also affected are lactose-intolerant customers, “most of whom are people of color,” PETA has previously said.
Starbucks itself acknowledged in Nov. 2021 that “dairy is the biggest contributor to Starbucks carbon footprint.” At the time, Starbucks said it was working on new approaches to sourcing sustainable dairy, but did not announce any plans to scale back on dairy offerings or make it more affordable for customers who request non-dairy options.
Starbucks locations in the US currently charge extra to customize its beverages with non-dairy milk, but a “splash” of the same non-dairy milk can be added to certain coffee beverages free of charge, Starbucks has previously confirmed.
A representative for Starbucks was not immediately available to comment on Tuesday morning’s protest.