A poster found outside the cafe, presumably stuck there by an angry resident. Photo by @burrrrgerfeed
A café owner in Sydney and recent transplant from Shanghai appears to have closed his shop down after he faced public backlash for refusing to hire a black barista.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Forbes & Burton café in Darlinghurst, an inner-city suburb of Sydney, shut down last week and still remained closed as of Tuesday.
Owner Steven Hu, who arrived in Australia from Shanghai nine months ago, admitted last week that he refused to hire 39-year-old Nilson Dos Santos, a Brazilian-born Australian citizen, because he was black.
Dos Santos, who’s had experience working as a barista in Sydney for nine years, claims that Hu turned him down during the job interview because he didn’t think his customers wanted coffee “made by black people”.
The exchange led several customers to walk out and prompted one employee to quit on the spot in a sign of solidarity.
New.com.au cited local residents who said that the café had been vandalized following the news, and online, the Forbes & Burton Facebook page was bombarded by hundreds upon hundreds of angry comments directed towards Hu.
SMH reports that there are no signs around the shop explaining its closure, but posters can be found attached to nearby power poles reading: “How dare you come here and tell us how to do racism, we’ve been practicing it since 1788, thank you very much.”
It’s unclear if the store will be closed permanently, although allegations of discrimination are currently being investigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman.