A company has issued a statement after it came to light an employee was fired due to the “racist” locals at a Sydney cafe.
Ayokunle Oluwalana, who goes by Ayo for short, was working at XS Espresso in Bondi until he was abruptly fired by a manager who insisted it was due to locals being “a bit racist”.
A video of Mr Oluwalana speaking about his experience was shared on Twitter, and people pledged to boycott the Bondi store and called for the manager in question to be fired on XS Espresso’s Instagram account.
Mr Oluwalana, who hails from London, said on Instagram after the incident he was not angry, “but more so pleased and proud of the response shown, that gives me faith in the world in these current times”.
In the wake of the ordeal, XS Espresso has announced the manager who fired Mr Oluwalana has been sacked by the company.
“In our meeting with Ayokunle, we discussed our mutual disappointment in the fact the manager, who is a person of colour himself, didn’t stand up against discrimination,” XS Espresso said in their post, adding action was taken “immediately”.
“The Bondi store manager no longer works for the company. The store is currently under management of head office.”
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
The statement also said Mr Oluwalana’s firing happened on his fifth shift at the cafe and the eatery was reportedly in contact with Mr Oluwalana hours after he was fired.
Mr Oluwalana’s visa expired in November, the company said, and he has been offered “further employment opportunities” within the company for the remainder of his time in Australia.
The company said they met with Mr Oluwalana on Saturday after the video he made was widely shared on social media and thanked him for his time and believing the company was not racist.
XS Esperesso also reaffirmed its stance on multiculturalism.
“It is the core element of our brand, across our store locations, as XS lives amongst a range of multicultural communities,” XS Espresso said.
Mr Oluwalana, who is also a journalism graduate, wrote a powerful article for HuffPost Australia, explaining why he spoke out about being fired for being black.
“Black people are tired of being treated differently for just being black,” he wrote, explaining how he has experienced racism in Australia.
The firing happened amid Black Lives Matter protests around the world, in response to George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer.
Mr Oluwalana said the Black Lives Matter movement gave him hope, and believes Australia and the world can eradicate racism.
XS Espresso also quoted Mr Oluwalana’s article in their statement, and said the ordeal has been a “massive learning opportunity”.
In the statement, XS Espresso also said since the unjust firing of Mr Oluwalana, “hate speech, threats and violence” had been directed towards the team members at XS Espresso.
The company called for the media and the public to help assist in stopping the threats and harassment.
“We need your support to ensure we spread love and not hate,” XS Espresso said.
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