A Brazilian-born Australian man claims that he was denied a job at a café in Sydney because the owner, a man from Shanghai who’d moved to Australia a year before, told him that his customers didn’t want their coffee “made by black people”.
The owner of the Forbes & Burton Café in Darlinghurst, Sydney, identified in the report only as “Steven”, admitted to Daily Mail Australia that the man was turned down because of the color of his skin.
“I don’t have race discrimination. And I am sorry but I was just being honest, in my opinion, I want to hire local people,” Steven was quoted as saying.
“We need to offer good service at this café and I think the coffee culture is more about white people.”
— TEN News Sydney (@TenNewsSydney) August 18, 2014
After being denied the job, 39-year-old Nilson Dos Santos reportedly stood up and told customers sitting in the café what happened, then asked if they had a problem being served by a black man. In response, several customers walked out and one staff member quit as a sign of solidarity.
Dos Santos, who recently became an Australian citizen, said he’d had experience working as a barista in Sydney for nine years.
He told the Daily Mail that he rang Steven on Saturday to set up an interview for Sunday and that the café owner “looked surprised” when he showed up.
“We sat down and he said, ‘but you’re black?'”
“I said ‘yes’ and he told me, ‘but my customers are white. I don’t think they’d like to have their coffee made by black people. That’s not part of the coffee culture. You’re African’.”
Since the story broke, hundreds of furious web users haven taken to the café’s Facebook page to express complaint. Many vowed to boycott the place and a few more chose to hurl derogatory comments back at Steven.
New.com.au quoted local residents who said that the café had been vandalized following the news.
“When we saw it this morning the place was covered in flour,” a barista from a nearby café said.
“It’s been cleaned up pretty quickly, but it’s all anyone here is talking about.”
In the Daily Mail report, Steven said he was “so sorry” for his actions.
“I think it’s really bad because maybe people will misunderstand but really I’m not have any racist discrimination I just want to give customers good service.”
The Fair Work Ombudsman is now reportedly investigating the shop and its manager.
[Images: Daily Mail via Twitter]