McDonald’s has sacked the owner of two of its restaurants in Australia on Sunday after a video showed him and a companion making racist comments towards his neighbour, questioning whether he was a “true” Aboriginal man.
The video, filmed by Aboriginal artist Robby Wirramanda, shows him being confronted by his neighbours at a family home in Mildura. It was later shared on Twitter by a family member.
The video shows a woman, identified as Karen, trying to pull down an Aboriginal flag at the house, before saying “get this s*** down”.
Wirramanda can be heard in the recording, shouting: “It’s too strong for you Karen,” which later led to the hashtag “#toostrongforyouKaren” trending on Twitter on Sunday after the video gained attention.
Wirramanda is also heard saying “You’re a racist pig,” to which Karen responded, “I’m not racist, mate.”
Besides Karen, the video also shows Robert Vigors, who owned the McDonald’s franchise in Mildura and Irymple, saying: “Which one percent of you is Aboriginal, mate? You’ve got nothing in you that’s Aboriginal.”
With Wirramanda responding: “What is a true Aboriginal?”
— Beautifuldeadly Decolonisation (@btddecolonize) December 14, 2019
In the video, Vigors can also be seen saying he “respected” the artwork Wirramanda produced, adding that he had “a lot of good Aboriginal friends who live up in far north Queensland and the northern territories… and they would love to come and give you a lecture on what an Aboriginal is.”
McDonald’s responded and said in a statement on Sunday: “[It] confirms the company has taken over the operation of the Mildura and Irymple restaurants … and Robert Vigors has left the system and is no longer involved.”
In an earlier statement, the company also described the comments as “unacceptable,” adding that they “do not reflect the beliefs of the company as an inclusive workplace for our employees and customers”.
On Sunday, the woman identified in the video Karen told the Daily Mail Australia she had received death threats after the video went viral and did not feel safe sharing her part of the story.
The state MP for Mildura, Ali Cupper, said on Twitter incident worried her. “This is not just anyone screaming at the Aboriginal flag, it’s two privileged, wealthy educated business leaders,” she added.