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British tea firms drawn into online battle over Black Lives Matter

Global demonstrations for Black Lives Matter
Global demonstrations for Black Lives Matter 02:57

The U.K. tea industry may have been built on the shoulders of unpaid labor in the former British empire, but it took a single tweet on Monday to draw two of the nation's biggest tea brands into the battle over race and equality. 

Yorkshire Tea responded to an inaccurate tweet from Laura Towler, who helps run a relatively new organization called "Patriotic Alternatives," which is focused on the perceived threat that "indigenous" Britons (white people) will become a minority in the U.K. by 2066. The group's website urges "like-minded people" to come together to avert a "dystopian future."

On Saturday, Towler praised Yorkshire Tea for not supporting Black Lives Matter protesters. But her assumption about the company's stance was wrong. On Monday, the company responded: "Please don't buy our tea again. We're taking some time to educate ourselves and plan proper action before we post. We stand against racism."

On the other side of the Atlantic, a like-minded American tea drinker took umbrage at Yorkshire Tea's stand and said she would have to switch to a competitor.

"So now I've got to buy PG Tips?" said @PamelaWS from Florida. "This sucks. And Yorkshire Tea is done. Good luck with the bs stance."

PG Tips hadn't issued a public statement since the U.K.'s long-simmering racial tensions were reawakened by the killing of George Floyd. But the American's tweet drew a response. 

"It does suck, Pamela. If you are boycotting teas that stand against racism, you're going to have to find two new tea brands now." 

Their tweet included the hashtag born of the newly-dubbed "teagate" scandal: #Solidaritea.

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