Neil Young's New Song Attacks Starbucks for GMO Use

June 2nd, 2015 10:48 AM

It’s no secret that 1960s rock star turned environmentalist-musician Neil Young of Buffalo Springfield fame uses his celebrity status to push political agendas.

In recent years he’s attacked oil and fracking, and soon Young will release an entire album entitled “The Monsanto Years” attacking genetically modified foods. Such fear mongering about GMOs has become popular in spite of more than 2,000 studies that found them “as safe or safer than conventional or organic foods.”

In Young’s song, “A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop,” he delivers this jab; “I want a cup of coffee but I don’t want a GMO. I like to start my day off without helping Monsanto.”

His song claims Monsanto and Starbucks, through the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), are suing the State of Vermont in opposition to GMO labeling. In November 2014, he wrote an opinion piece on his website and referenced a SumOfUs petition claiming that Starbucks was supporting the lawsuit against Vermont.

Young clearly needs a fact-checker for his work. Six days after Young posted the story on his website, Starbucks tweeted that they were not involved in any lawsuit and the Starbucks website asked for the petition to be revised with the removal of its name. As for June 1, 2015, the petition had not been revised.

Snopes debunked the claim on Nov. 17, 2014, indicating that although Starbucks is a member of GMA, the coffee company was not involved in and took no position on the lawsuit. Brian Kennedy, GMA’s spokesman, stated, “As an affiliate member, [Starbucks] is not involved in any policy, governance, or legal work with the Association, which includes the lawsuit in Vermont.”

Despite statements from Starbucks, GMA, Snopes, and Reuters, Young continues to spread false information about Starbucks with the new song which is getting publicized by Rolling Stone, Time Magazine and other media. Both of those magazines failed to expose the false information contained in Young’s song. In contrast, both the Daily Mail (UK) and the Huffington Post said Starbucks was not connected to the lawsuit.