Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Coffee Punch Cards Cause a Stir with Conservatives

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Coffee Punch Cards Cause a Stir with Conservatives

Article excerpt

Call it a political tempest in a coffee pot.

Black Forge Coffee House in the city's Allentown neighborhood has been the subject of constant and at times ugly online and phone harassment from around the country since a Fox News story about a rewards punch-card at the shop featuring the face of President Donald Trump and nine other conservative icons went viral earlier this week.

"It's definitely been a rough couple of days. It escalated quickly and not to the intent that we wanted," said Ashley Corts, co-owner of the heavy metal-themed shop, noting that multiple callers have called her misogynistic vulgarities and others suggested that "someone should put bullets in our heads."

Free-coffee punch cards are a common practice at coffee shops and convenience stores around the country.

At Black Forge, however, their card features depictions of Mr. Trump, as well as vice president Mike Pence, Sen. Ted Cruz, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, conservative pundits Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O' Reilly, Mike Huckabee and Pat Robertson, and controversial pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli. After all the faces are punched, a patron gets a free cup of coffee.

"We are definitely not advocating violence," Black Forge co-owner Nick Miller said. "This is purely political satire statement and an expression of frustration with the system."

"We don't push the cards on anybody," Ms. Corts said. "Most people take a look at it and laugh."

Open for a year and a half, the coffee shop had previous punch cards featuring some of the same conservative figures - but not Mr. Trump -and no fuss was made. The new cards were printed before the inauguration, but the shop needed to exhaust its previous supply before putting them into use a week ago.

By contrast last year, a Florida gun shop sold practice targets featuring the faces of President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

WPXI-TV first reported on the cards, and then Fox, which led to the stream of calls from places as far away as Arizona, Kentucky, North Carolina, Washington, D. …

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