A Sydney cafe chain has sacked its manager who allegedly fired a black barista because of the colour of his skin.
Ayo Oluwalana, a journalism graduate from London, sparked a media storm when he was let go from XS Espresso in Bondi.
Mr Oluwalana claims the manager told him that the locals were ‘a bit racist’ and preferred to be served by the other barista ‘who’s a white guy’.
XS Espresso announced this week that the manager, who is also a person of colour, no longer works for the company.
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Ayo Oluwalana (pictured), who came to Australia from the UK, said he was working at the XS Espresso Cafe in Bondi, Sydney on Thursday when the manager told him he was fired
XS Espresso announced this week the manager, who is a person of colour, no longer works for the company
‘XS Espresso has a ZERO racism tolerance. We have not taken this matter lightly,’ the company said.
‘The store is currently under the management of Head Office.
‘Ayokunle has been offered further employment opportunities within XS and the offer stills stands during his remaining time in the country, as his VISA expires in November.’
Mr Oluwalana was fired from the job on Thursday last week after working just five shifts.
In his video, he claimed the manager approached him, saying there had been complaints about his coffee.
‘I was very surprised, given I have only heard good things and I have only got compliments about it.
Mr Oluwalana said that was ‘a bit of a shame,’ which the manager responded with the locals of Bondi ‘like their coffee a certain way’
‘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.’
Mr Oluwalana’s video went viral with hundreds showing their support for the sacked barista, prompting the cafe to apologise.
XS Espresso said staff members had received threats and harassment since the post went viral.
Mr Oluwalana thanked everyone who helped him share his story after the company apologised.
‘The individual who was involved will experience appropriate consequences and their fate at the company is yet to be determined,’ the company said
XS Espresso Cafe released a statement on their Facebook page which was accompanied by a picture with text that read: ‘As a brand, we stand in solidarity against systemic racism’
‘I wish I could be angry but for some reason, I can’t find that switch to be able to turn it on,’ he said.
He said he was ‘shocked’ to see how far his video had gone.
‘I’m moving on and I’m happy to put a pin in it, to move on and to not waste any more time on this situation,’ he said.
‘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.’
XS ESPRESSO’S FULL STATEMENT:
XS Espresso has a ZERO racism tolerance.
The team has been working endlessly during this time of media silence to ensure the best outcome for Ayokunle Oluwalana and the safety of our team members.
We have not taken this matter lightly.
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. The store is currently under the management of Head Office.
After his fifth shift at 2pm on Thursday, the incident occurred.
The founder made immediate contact with Ayokunle and has been in regular contact since the company was notified of Ayokunle’s situation, hours later.
Ayokunle has been offered further employment opportunities within XS and the offer stills stands during his remaining time in the country, as his VISA expires in November.
We met with Ayokunle on Saturday to acknowledge and respect his thoughts on the changes we are making in our business. To provide support to any instance or undertone of inequality.
We thank Ayokunle for his time on Saturday, after meeting with the founder. We would also like to thank Ayokunle who confirmed that he does not believe the company is racist and that the whole company embraces multiculturalism. A misconception through this matter which has generated a lot of hate speech, threats and violence towards our team members.
We not only embrace multiculturalism, it is a core element of our brand, across our store locations as XS lives amongst a range of multicultural communities.
Just as the Bondi region is built on multi-culturalism, our brand will always be home to people from all over the world.
This is the first report of a team member feeling mistreated due to their race.
All our store’s teams prior to the incident are comprised of a host of cultures and backgrounds, and will always be an important identity of our business.
To all our customers and those who have been in contact with us, we thank you for raising your concerns and have taken everything on board.
We have taken this as a massive learning opportunity. The company has embedded extra precautions to prevent such incidents in the future.
We can reassure everyone, that XS Espresso stands together with Ayokunle against racism.
We as a company promote nothing but love and kindness.
We want to urge the media and public to assist us in stopping the harassments and threats experienced by our teams and crew since this matter, as we focus to embrace love to Ayokunle and our team.
We need your support to ensure we spread love and not hate.