An Australian blogger is suggesting that customers consider boycotting an Auckland inner-city restaurant after its employee Brian Castello joined a racist rants against Aborigines online.
The anonymous blogger, known as SwearyCat, (a self-proclaimed “unapologetic defender of Austraian Progressive Politics. Complusive Swearer who also tweets) who is known for naming and shaming Facebook users who post “vile series of racist comments” (in this case) relating to an advertisement promoting literacy for Aborigines.
Most of the racially-offensive korero was aimed at the young Aboriginal girl pictured in the poster.
SwearyCat went a step further and called for action against the business who employed those who made the comments.
“I’m quite sure right-thinking people worldwide will be vigilant in doing business with employers who, if they tolerate such behaviour in their employees, are tacitly supporting racism.”
Auckland restaurant Urban Turban was one of the targets after employee Brian Castello wrote “maybe don’t live in remote aborigine communities, then your kids can read” on Facebook.
Urban Turban manager Glen, who declined to give his surname, told the Stuff, saying that he knew of calls to boycotts his restaurant and planned to talk to Castello today about his remarks, adding that he did not want the restaurant represented by someone with racist views, but equally he did not think it was fair his restaurant was dragged into the debate.
“Boycotting a restaurant because of an employee is ridiculous – it takes it too far.”
The restaurant manager had not decided what action to take against Castello, who is a casual employee.
“At the end of the day he’s just a young kid who got involved in a vicious world [of racism] online.”
Castello could not be reached for comment.
However, not everyone feels this way “if I’m not comfortable saying something in a crowded room, then I should think twice about saying it online. I’m personally comfortable with what I post online and if someone is going to leave racist remarks on public walls then what does that say about them more generally?” said Potaua Biasiny-Tule CEO at TangataWhenua.com.
It will not be the first time someone gets fired for what they post on a Social Networking Site and reminds us that increasingly there are significant consequences when our digital lives interest with the our analouge world.
Background to the Controversy
The Aborigine education poster was originally posted on Stuart Smith’s Facebook page, who is an Kiwi expat living in New South Wales.
Above the picture of the Aboriginal girl, the poster reads: “If 80% of kids in Sydney couldn’t read would you lend a hand?”
Social Network Reaction
Many people on social networking website Twitter have expressed outrage and retweeted the original blog condemning the racist comments and joined the call for the boycott.
Massey University research recently revealed how new media provided people with a new platform for racism.
The research found racist bigots were using sites like Facebook, Twitter and TradeMe to vent their racist views, whereas in the past they tended to call radio talkback.