Following the coronavirus outbreak in China, a Sydney café apologized for putting up and offensive sign that was slammed on social media.
Casanova by Cucina 105 in Liverpool had a message on its display board that read: “The coronavirus won’t last long because it was made in China!!!”
A number of Facebook users initially mistook the restaurant as “Cascade” because of a coffee sign, but HuffPost Australia verified that the café was indeed Casanova by Cucina 105 in Liverpool located approximately 45 minutes from Sydney’s CBD.
“One of my staff members has done this without consent,” the cafe owner told HuffPost Australia.
In a statement, the cafe’s management wrote: “To Everyone, Casanova Café gives our sincerest apology for the quote that was posted in our quote board on the 31 January. It was not our intention to offend anyone, it was a gross misjudgment on our part, and we understand that it was insensitive and we sincerely apologize.”
The owner of the café was unaware of the sign and had not been at the premises on that day because of other family commitments.
The statement added: “The sign was immediately taken down and the individual who authored the quote has been reprimanded and disciplined. The proprietor was gutted, very shocked and upset when he was informed of the contents of the quote board, particularly as he is of a migrant ethnic background, and employs Asian staff. We at Casanova Café stress that we unequivocally reject any form of racism, it should be noted that our business operates in one of the most multicultural areas of Australia and once again sincerely apologize for the offence that we have created especially to the Chinese community Casanova Cafe.”
A number of social media posts about the sign stated that “racism is not witty,” and asked if there was “humor” for people of Chinese heritage in the message.
Erin Chew, the founder of The Asian Australian Alliance, an organization with over 900 members that promotes advocacy on social issues faced by Asian-Australians, stated that she was “sad” to see the post, which was shared on her Facebook page.
“As a Chinese Australian it’s sad when I see cheap comments like this which only adds to the racism and Sinophobia towards Chinese Australians or really any Asian Australians who look Chinese,” she told HuffPost Australia. “Most people such as the cafe feel that this is just a joke but they don’t understand the racial backlash which impacts on anyone who is Chinese looking.”
“The focus should be keeping safe and to hope that the coronavirus gets contained as soon as possible but sadly what we have seen is people trying to make this out to be a ‘Chinese virus’ and anyone who looks like us who wears a face mask or coughs or sneezes will get implicated and get racially targeted,” she added.
Sources: America Now