A western Sydney burger restaurant has backed down after copping fierce backlash over a post about “Invasion Day bandwangoners”.
Downtown Brooklyn, an American-style burger joint in Penrith, accused activists against Australia Day of being “influencers” who latch onto “trending issues for the clout and likes”.
But after facing a fierce backlash online, the restaurant has issued a lengthy apology and deleted its original post, saying it “pushed the boundaries a bit too far”.
“To the entire Indigenous community that has been offended … please take this as my sincerest apologies as to how the post was construed,” the owner, Chris O’Shea, said in a post shared last night.
“I will cop the hate, cop the flack, and cop the damages that will still continue as most will say this is back pedalling. This was never meant to be a hateful or racist post.”
Mr O’Shea also wrote he believed: “The damage is done, there is no coming back from this and as the owner I have accepted this.
“I have personally spoken to many of you through our inbox explaining the above and have apologised in regards to anything taken the wrong way or being insensitive with the comments made by our socials.”
Mr O’Shea said the restaurant’s social media team “like to push the boundaries when it comes to their marketing”.
“Unfortunately they may have pushed the boundaries a bit too far this time with some of the comments made.
“The point #3 was made in regards to social influencers and how they love to jump on bandwagons. They use these days to support an issue for the likes or clout, then move on to the next one, forgetting about the true cause.
“Unfortunately somewhere along the line, this has been misconstrued as being racist, and it has taken off from there. The post was never meant to be racist in anyway shape or form. “Now that we look back at it, maybe we have become the very thing that we set out to post about in an insensitive.”
The restaurant shared the apology on Facebook, where more than 2100 people have responded. The majority of commenters did not accept the apology, and were outraged by the response, calling it a “justification followed by an apology”.
“’We’re sorry you interpreted something in an offensive way’ is not an apology,” one woman wrote.
“This is not the first time YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM yourself have crossed boundaries with comments you guys make,” another woman said. “It’s disgusting and you guys should be embarrassed!”
“Not misconstrued-flat out racism! Cultural awareness required for all staff and maybe you need to cater the next Survival Day rally for free,” another furious commenter wrote.
However, some commenters said they were willing to support the restaurant and would be “in for dinner this week”.
The original post has been deleted by the restaurant. Before it was removed, it attracted more than 1000 reactions and 1600 comments.
Many of the comments were from outraged Penrith locals, who labelled the post “racist”.
RESTAURANT INITIALLY STANDS BY POST
The restaurant had initially stood by the post, following up in comments posted yesterday, including sharing a definition of the word “bandwagon”.
Downtown Brooklyn also posted this comment: “Here we are just pointing out the fact that influencers jump on to any current trending issues for the clout and likes, then forget about you all for the rest of the year. Ya’ll getting mad for that? OK.”
“Not a smart marketing or business move at all. Yes it will bring attention but not the kind you want,” one woman wrote on Downtown Brooklyn’s original post.
“Thanks for letting me know where not to spend my money,” another man said.
News.com.au has contacted Downtown Brooklyn for a comment but did not receive a response.
Others said the restaurant had driven customers away with a series of social media stunts in recent months.
In November, the restaurant released a Donald Trump themed “Orange Man” burger the day before the US Presidential election.
After copping some backlash, the restaurant shared another post saying they seasoned their fries with “leftie tears”.