A Sydney vegan cafe has copped backlash after declaring itself a “safe zone” for Trump supporters and heterosexuals and abusing customers online.
Plant-based eatery Hale & Hearty, located in the rainbow suburb of Waterloo in Sydney, came under fire for hurling homophobic and transphobic slurs online.
Owner Mark Da Costa took to Facebook last week to declare Hale & Hearty a “Donald Trump safe zone”. He described the restaurant as “a place to discuss what’s in your heart without prejudice.”
However some customers weren’t impressed, responding to the vegan cafe owner’s posts with negative reviews.
One urged him to “concentrate on your restaurant”. Another said the “political posts” are getting “a bit out of control”.
Da Costa also angrily responded to some of the public comments. He allegedly called one customer a “narrow-minded prick” and “a loser”.
Replying to another customer who said they’d eat elsewhere, the official Facebook account allegedly asked “Are you a poof?”
The social media handle responded to another, “Take care little man/woman… who f—in knows with you re—-s.”
Then over the weekend, Da Costa posted on the Hale & Hearty Instagram, “We are a straight Sydney safe zone”.
He declared after the “inbox abuse we received by community members of the LGBT and gay community for being @realdonaldtrump & @senatorpaulinehanson supporters we thought it was appropriate to classify ourselves now a safe zone in Waterloo for the Straight community.”
Shit is going DOWN on the Hale and Hearty fb page today and friends I will never be eating there again pic.twitter.com/PtTaZTiMgY
— Jenna Guillaume (@JennaGuillaume) October 31, 2020
Anyone have Vegan Restaurant in Sydney declares themselves a straight safe space after coming out in support of Trump on their 2020 bingo? I think I might have. pic.twitter.com/cwJCMylMTA
— Brendan Maclean (@macleanbrendan) October 31, 2020
‘Left wing fake vegans’ target vegan restaurant Hale & Hearty with smear campaign
Da Costa claimed he was the target of a smear campaign by “left wing fake vegans” for privately supporting Trump and Hanson.
“My business and family have received hundreds of threats and vulgar messages from both the vegan and gay community,” he said.
“[They have] labelled the business racist amongst other deplorable things for the posts and for being Trumpions.
“Who we privately support should have never crossed over into the brand, but it did.
“So now we must stand against these haters and trolls and remain united and calm.”
Da Costa told the Wentworth Courier it began when someone posted screenshots of his private social media to popular vegan sites.
“[He] told all the vegans in Sydney to boycott Hale and Hearty and avoid us like the plague because we are racists, bigots, transphobes,” he said.
Da Costa also walked back his “rude and abusive” comments to his vegan cafe’s queer customers.
He said he took his anger at “one member of the community” out on the public.
“We’ve always supported the gay and LGBT community,” he said.
“When they were hosting the plebiscite we posted, ‘Yes we support you’.”
But Da Costa said he “will remain a Trump supporter, and I am a Pauline Hanson supporter.”
On Wednesday, Da Costa plans to host a “MAGA night” at the vegan cafe in the aftermath of the US election.
He wrote the event is for “free thinkers” to “mourn or celebrate this great guy and his plight to help the free world survive.”
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