Kebab shop owner thinks he’s allowed to make ‘homophobic jokes’ because gay people don’t visit his restaurant
A kebab shop in the heart of Sydney’s gay district has been hit with a boycott after its owner posted “homophobic” comments on Facebook.
Ziftekhar Hasan of Yilmaz Grill & Bakehouse was met with swift backlash after posting an anti-gay meme on social media.
“Why should gay people have rights when we don’t even have the right to not have to put up with seeing them in public?” read the meme, alongside an image of a figure kicking a person holding a rainbow flag. Hasan included the caption: “If you support these clowns unfriend me.”
When a commenter reminded him he owned a business in a “very gay suburb in Sydney”, the kebab shop owner replied: “Nome (sic) of my customers are gay. International students and travellers keep us going. If these ppl don’t come to my shop I won’t lose a cent of my net worth.”
In another comment he added: “They wanna take over now the dogs.”
Hasan later claimed he wasn’t homophobic and that it was “just a joke”, but Sydney’s LGBT+ community and allies weren’t laughing. It wasn’t long before they made their thoughts known and the restaurant’s online ratings tumbled to 1.7.
“Food was terrible, but then homophobia always tastes awful,” posted one user. Another reviewer said: “I recently found out that the owner of this establishment invited hatred against LGBTQ+ people but has his shop in a predominantly LGBTQ+ area. Can anyone say, market analysis?”
In response to the complaints the popular food delivery Menulog announced that it would no longer be partnering with Yilmaz Grill & Bakehouse.
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Turns out Hasan’s kebab shop was more reliant on LGBT+ business than he’d thought. In the face of a boycott, the owner issued a grovelling apology for his homophobic remarks.
“I would sincerely ask you guys for your forgiveness. It wasn’t meant at picking a fight or cause division,” he wrote on Facebook.
He went on to explain his homophobia with more homophobia, claiming that one of his friends had been “sexually abused by a gay man” which later caused the friend to take his own life. But Hasan admitted that it wasn’t wise on his part to “paint everyone with the same brush”.
“Covid is already ruining my livelihood and all the comments and reviews don’t help,” he continued. “I am not asking anyone to delete them, but after hearing my side of the story, if you do, I would very [much] appreciate it.”
“Apology not accepted,” replied one customer.