The owner of a parody coffee shop in Los Angeles called “Dumb Starbucks” has been revealed to be Canadian television comedy personality Nathan Fielder.
Mr Fielder appeared in person at the store to make the announcement, where he said there are plans to open a second outlet in Brooklyn, New York.
There had been widespread speculation that the store, which uses Starbuck’s trademarks, was a publicity stunt.
Starbucks said they were aware of the store but denied any affiliation.
“We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humour, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark,” a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement.
‘Dumb iced coffee’
“Dumb Starbucks” opened in a shopping centre on Friday and started giving away free drinks, generating long queues of people.
The decoration of the “Dumb Starbucks” is very similar to that of a real Starbucks.
The store front has the same green awning and round mermaid logo as Starbucks’ coffee shops – except the work “Dumb” is placed in large letters above the word Starbucks.
The wall menu inside the pop-up store offered coffee that ranged from “horrible” to “bitter”, as well as products called “dumb iced coffee” and “dumb white chocolate mocha.”
The drinks were served in a white paper cup with a sticker of the Starbucks logo with the word “dumb” added to it.
None of the patrons were charged for their drinks, although there was a tip jar.
The “Dumb Starbucks” coffee shop has also set up its own Facebook page and Twitter handle, which has accumulated more than 8,000 followers.
On the micro-blogging website, it tweeted that “the owner of Dumb Starbucks will be making an in person announcement at our store (1802 Hillhurst Ave) today at 4pm. All are welcome!”
At the designated time, a Youtube video was posted on the “Dumb Starbucks” Twitter account, revealing Mr Fielder as the owner.
Mr Fielder is best known for his work on US television network Comedy Central and for encouraging fans to pull pranks.
While many have dismissed the store as a publicity stunt, experts say the people behind the “Dumb Starbucks” could potentially face legal action over copyright infringement.
However, in the “Dumb Starbucks” store, the owners posted a statement at the counter stating that the store is protected by “parody law.”
“By adding the word ‘dumb,’ we are technically ‘making fun’ of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as ‘fair use’,” the statement said.
“In the eyes of the law, our ‘coffee shop’ is actually an art gallery and the ‘coffee’ you’re buying is considered art. But that’s for our lawyers to worry about.”