An Australian who applied for a barista’s job at an inner Sydney cafe missed out on the role after its Chinese owner allegedly told him people wouldn’t want coffee “made by black people”.
The Daily Mail reports that Nilson Dos Santos, a Brazilian-born naturalised Australian, was told by the owner of Forbes and Burton in Darlinghurst, that he only wanted “locals” to work there.
The Daily Mail says the cafe owner, who was only identified as ‘Steven’ had come to Australia from Shanghai this year and admitted Dos Santos missed out on the job because he was black.
“There are a lot of white customers at the café and I think the clients here want local people, not African people,” Steven said. “In some people’s opinions African people can’t make good coffee.”
Africa is one of the world’s major coffee growing regions and Brazil is the world’s biggest producer of coffee beans.
Dos Santos said he saw the job advertised on Gumtree, but when he arrived for the interview, the owner said “but you’re black” and didn’t ask him a single question about work.
When Dos Santos, a barista with 9 years experience, realised he was the victim of racial discrimination, he addressed customers in the cafe on Sunday afternoon, told them what had happened to him and asked if they had a problem with coffee made by someone who is black. Apparently a staff member quit and customers walked out.
A social media backlash against the Forbes and Burton has been swift and savage, with dozens of people taking to Facebook to attack the restaurant for its stance.
Many are urging boycotts against the cafe, which under previous owners, was critically acclaimed.
Under the Racial Discrimination Act, it is an offence to discriminate against someone on the basis of their skin colour. A complaint against Dos Santos’ treatment could be lodged with the Human Rights Commission and ultimately, lead to Court proceedings.
Dos Santos said this was the first time he’d ever faced discrimination.
“I’ve always felt welcomed and accepted. For me, it was never a problem that I am black until today,” he said
The Daily Mail said the cafe’s owner needs to run the business successfully for two years to get an Australian visa.
Business Insider attempted to contact Forbes and Burton for comment but was unsuccessful.
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