Topless Singing Starbucks Employee Fired For YouTube Video
Christopher Cristwell, 25, is a Starbucks employee with a knack for satire. When he uploaded an acoustic ballad about his employer -- performed in nothing but shorts and a green Starbucks apron -- it quickly went viral. Viral Youtube videos can be launching pads for careers, but in this case, Cristwell was fired.
In rhyming couplets, Cristwell singingly admits to various behaviors that might give the corporate bigwigs pause: giving customers decaf when there's no fresh regular, mocking rich white women for thinking a skinny vanilla latte is a sensible diet drink, giving free stuff to his friends, secretly making not nonfat cappuccinos, and making Frappacinos out of whipped cream.
In general, he paints an unflattering portrait of the world's largest coffee chain: customers who are terrible people, food and beverage offerings that will induce heart disease and diabetes, and an oppressive grind of a workday for minimum wage.
"This is Starbucks, I don't want to see you yawn./Well you made me get my ass up at the buttcrack of dawn."
"While Christopher was expressing his own views in the video, the disparaging remarks about our customers and company are unacceptable and out of line with our commitment to our customers and partners (employees)," said the company in a statement on Wednesday.
The company has been "really cool about it" though, Cristwell told the Merced Sun-Star. He had several meetings with the managers before he was ultimately dismissed from Starbucks in Chowchilla, Calif., and won some praise from bosses. "The regional manager complimented me on my creative ability -- not on that specific song -- and then asked me why I did it. They were really trying to find out about my intent behind the videos."
Starbucks, of course, sees in every incident an opportunity for business improvement and increased market share. Cristwell, however, needs a new job and has been furiously passing out resumes.
"I have bills to pay and I hope the video doesn't affect my ability to get hired," he says. "It's just a comedy song. I really am a good employee."
But perhaps Cristwell should be dreaming bigger than minimum wage in Chowchilla. "I really enjoy singing and songwriting," he says. "If it turns into something, that would be a dream job for me. I'll just take it as it goes, I'll roll with it."
Cristwell has already created a follow-up video to his first. Sorry ladies -- he kept his shirt on for this one:
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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