A barista working in Bondi claims he was sacked because the manager said the “locals are a bit racist”.
Ayokunle Oluwalana, who goes by Ayo for short, is a journalism and media graduate originally from London, but according to his blog is currently living in Sydney on a holiday visa.
Mr Oluwalana took to social media a few days ago to share his experience working in Bondi cafe XS Espresso.
In the video – which originally appeared on Mr Oluwalana’s Instagram story and then shared to Twitter – he explains he had been working at XS Espresso for a few weeks and it was going “well” with “no complaints”.
But he claims after one of his shifts this week, the manager and owner of the store pulled Mr Oluwalana aside and told him he had to be let go.
“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 in the video.
“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', 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.”
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— emz (@emilyphvm) June 18, 2020
In the video Mr Oluwalana said he told the manager the firing was “a bit surprising and a bit of a shame”.
“He was like ‘yeah, I really like you but the locals they like their coffee a certain way’, and I’m just like come on,” Mr Oluwalana said.
The firing, which happened earlier this week, comes amid anti-racism protests across the world in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
Mr Oluwalana’s account was confirmed to be true when XS Espresso released a statement on their Instagram addressing the firing.
“We were deeply saddened to learn of an incident that took place at our Bondi location yesterday,” XS Espresso wrong on their Instagram.
“When we were made aware of the incident, our foremost concern was towards the gentleman who had been mistreated by a manager at our Bondi location.
“This was an isolated incident of gross misconduct which should not have happened, and we are terribly remorseful for the treatment he received.”
The statement also said the founder of the chain had spoken to Mr Oluwalana and discussions will continue “regarding corrective actions we will be taking”.
“As a brand we stand in solidarity against systemic racism, and are extremely disheartened and grieved that inequality was amongst us,” the statement said, adding “racist behaviour is not and has never been welcomed here”.
XS Espresso said they would be re-training staff members across all branches on discrimination, revising their policies and ensuring their onboarding program makes future employees “aware of our brand values prior to representing us”.
On social media, people called to boycott the Bondi store and the franchise and for the manager in question to be fired.
In the first post XS Espresso posted to their Instagram, it stated the manager involved in Mr Oluwalana’s unfair dismissal will “experience appropriate consequences”, however did not disclose whether or not he had been fired.
In a second post on their Instagram, XS Espresso said the company understood the frustration surrounding whether or not the employee in question had been fired.
“We want to emphasise that we cannot disclose any further information about this employee due to legalities,” the chain said concerning the manager.
“We have never tolerated discrimination, and the individual involved has been subject to consequences accordingly.”
Since the video went viral on social media, Mr Oluwalana has released another statement on his Instagram.
“I wish I could be angry but for some reason I can’t find that switch to be able to turn it on,” he wrote.
“So, I thank all of you for being able to do it for me.”
Mr Oluwalana said he believed the owner of the company was “shocked and saddened” by the manager’s actions and claimed the manager of the Bondi franchise has been “reprimanded for his actions”.
Mr Oluwalana said he was moving on and “happy to put a pin in it”, not wasting any more time on the situation.
“I am surprisingly not sad or angry, but more so pleased and proud of the response shown, that gives me faith in the world in these current times,” he said.
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