A Sydney cafe chain at the centre of a racism storm has sacked a store manager who was accused of firing a black barista because “locals are a bit racist”.
In a statement released on Instagram, XS Espresso said it had sacked the Bondi store manager after he told Ayokunle Oluwalana he was being let go because locals “like their coffee made by people that are already there” — referring to a white barista.
The journalism graduate from London said last week about the incident: “It was going well and no-one complained whatsoever and then today after my shift … 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.
“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?’ And 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.”
XS Espresso said it had “a ZERO racism tolerance”.
“In our meeting with Ayokunle, we discussed our mutual disappointment in the fact that the manager, who is a person of colour himself, didn’t stand up against discrimination.
“Rest assured that action was taken immediately.
“The Bondi store manager no longer works for the company.”
XS Espresso also revealed staff working for the company had received threats and harassment on social media and was urging the public and media to help stop the negative publicity.
“This is the first report of a team member feeling mistreated due to their race,” the company said.
“All our stores’ teams, prior to the incident, are comprised of a host of cultures and backgrounds, and will always be an important identity of our business.
“Ayokunle has been offered further employment opportunities within XS and the offer still stands during his remaining time in the country as his visa expires in November.”
The company said its founder met with the 25-year-old from London and that “he confirmed that he does not believe the company is racist and that the whole company embraces multiculturalism”.
XS Espresso said it had added extra precautions to prevent such incidents in the future and that it stood together with Mr Oluwalana against racism.
“We as a company promote nothing but love and kindness.”