Health officials shut down 'Dumb Starbucks' parody cafe in Los Angeles

Feb. 11, 2014 at 3:27 PM   |   0 comments

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles County Health Department shut down the "Dumb Starbucks" parody cafe around the same time it was revealed as the work of a comedian.

The cafe, located next to a laundromat, mimicked the menu and aesthetic of a Starbucks location, except with the word "dumb" appearing before the name of the store and each menu item, CNNMoney reported Tuesday.

Comedian Nathan Fielder revealed the Dumb Starbucks, which handed out free iced coffees and lattes during the weekend, was his comedy project Monday, the same day the Los Angeles County Health Department had the shop shut down for operating without the proper permits.

"Legally speaking, we're operating as an art gallery -- under parody law, it only covers art -- so the coffee you're buying is the art," Fielder said,. "Because of that we do not have a health permit so we didn't have to pay those fees and we passed on the savings to the customers."

Fielder said parody law allowed him to use the Starbucks logo for comedy without running afoul of trademark laws.

Starbucks issued a statement Monday saying the company is "glad the mystery is over." The company did not say whether legal action would be pursued against Fielder.

Fielder warned the cafe chain would risk "losing me as a customer" if it pursued legal action over his Dumb Starbucks stunt.

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