A Sydney cafe chain, XS Espresso Cafe has offered an apology to a Bondi barista, who has gone public with claims he was sacked for being black.
Journalism graduate Ayokunle ‘Ayo’ Oluwalana from London had been working in Bondi at XS Espresso, a cafe chain with multiple franchises in Sydney.
The 25-year-old posted on Instagram on Thursday that his manager told him he was being let go because “locals are a bit racist”.
“It was going well and no-one complained whatsoever and then today after my shift … he [the manager] pulls me over to the side and he’s just like, ‘Ayo we’ve been having some complaints recently about your coffee and we are going to have to let you go’,” Mr Oluwalana said.
“I was very surprised given I have only heard good things and I have only got compliments about it.
“Then he goes, ‘Well you know how Bondi is, the locals are a bit racist’, so I am like, ‘Oh so that’s the real reason’, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, they like their coffee made by the people that are there already, by the barista that’s there already’, who’s a white guy,” he said.
So the manager at Bondi XS Espresso fired an employee due to his skin colour saying that the ‘locals’ are racist and like their coffee made by the other barista (yt of course). Anyways boycott the Bondi store xx pic.twitter.com/OVBV6ACfva
— Emily Pham (@emilyphvm) June 18, 2020
XS Espresso ‘deeply saddened’
XS Espresso responded by saying it was “deeply saddened to learn of an incident that took place at our Bondi location yesterday”.
“Our foremost concern was towards the gentleman who had been mistreated by a manager at our Bondi location,” a statement read.
“We are terribly remorseful for the treatment he received.”
The cafe chain said it would be retraining staff on anti-discrimination and revising policies to keep team members and customers safe.
“The individual who was involved will experience appropriate consequences and their fate at the company is yet to be determined,” XS Espresso said.
“We want to apologise for what occurred yesterday — to Ayo especially; to those who have experienced racism and to anyone who has messaged us with concerns.”
The incident comes at a time when global protests are being held for the anti-racism Black Lives Matter cause.
Outraged social media users offered their support to Mr Oluwalana, called for the manager’s sacking and vowed to boycott the eatery.
In a follow-up statement, Mr Oluwalana said he believed the head of XS Espresso was genuinely shocked by what happened.
“I’m happy to put a pin in it, to move on and to not waste any more time on this situation,” he said.
“I am surprisingly not sad or angry, but more pleased and proud of the responses shown, that gives me faith in the world in these current times.”