'Calm down': Dad accused of shaming women for kissing outside Coles

·4-min read

A woman has spoken out after she says a man berated her and her girlfriend for kissing in front of his kids at a Melbourne Coles.

Anueta Madison-Vanderbuilt, 31, told Yahoo News Australia she and her partner were about to walk into the supermarket in Cragieburn at 5pm on Thursday when the incident occurred.

As a thank you to her girlfriend for getting her a coffee, Ms Madison-Vanderbuilt said she gave her a quick kiss.

A “split-second” later, Ms Madison-Vanderbuilt said they heard a man say “calm down” loudly.

They turned around to see a man walking past with his wife and three children.

Anueta Madison-Vanderbuilt and a still from the TikTok footage of the man talking to the women at Coles.
Anueta Madison-Vanderbuilt, 31, said she and her partner were about to walk into the Coles on Thursday when the alleged incident occurred. Source: TikTok/Anueta Madison-Vanderbuilt

The 31-year-old said she and her girlfriend stood there stunned for a moment before asking the man what he was referring to.

Ms Madison-Vanderbuilt said he replied that “there are families around” and it’s “family time” before walking past them and into the shop.

The Melbourne woman told Yahoo News Australia she told the security guard and manager at Coles, but both told her to call the police.

“I realised they weren’t going to help and in my head I thought, ‘I just need to know, I need answers’,” she said.

Ms Madison-Vanderbuilt said she has been the subject of comments and sneering before because of her sexuality and had "had enough”.

“You let it go, and you let it go and I didn’t want to anymore,” she said, adding that the couple then approached the man while filming video footage later posted to TikTok.

Women confront man in Coles over alleged comments

The 31-year-old, who said she was wearing a mask and standing two metres away from the man, said she asked him if he was offended because they were two women who are dating.

Video footage shows the man standing with his arms folded in the middle of a Coles aisle.

“I choose what I want my kids to see, when they grow up they can choose what they want,” he can be heard saying.

“Not when it’s in public,” one of the women can be heard saying.

“Especially when it’s in public. When I go to a shopping centre I like to see, ya know, a nice, calm environment,” he retorts as his son can be seen standing nearby.

“Were we not calm?” the women asked before the man, not happy they are recording, threatens to “wipe” their phone out, saying “he’s not in the mood today”.

The man threatens to “snap the phone” as his son runs down the aisle in the opposite direction.

Ms Madison-Vanderbuilt.
As a thank you to her girlfriend for getting her a coffee, Ms Madison-Vanderbuilt said she gave her a quick kiss. Source: Anueta Madison-Vanderbuilt/Facebook

Police called over Coles incident

Ms Madison-Vanderbuilt said the footage then cuts off because she had to step in between the man and her partner, who was filming.

The 31-year-old said she and her partner left the store but other members of the public had seen the incident and called police, who arrived at the Coles and spoke with the man.

Ms Madison-Vanderbuilt posted six more videos to Tiktok further explaining the video and addressing comments posted on the original video.

She said she had arranged to give a statement to officers on Friday afternoon.

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia they will be contacting the women promptly. 

“Coles values respect and opposes discriminatory behaviour in all forms and we were concerned to hear about this customer’s experience," the spokesperson said.

"We are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive culture in which the LGBTQIA community feel they can be their authentic selves and have a safe place to work and shop.”

Yahoo News Australia has contacted Victoria Police for comment.

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