A Brazilian-Australian barista was denied a job at a Sydney café because the owner believed he is not fit for the position based on his race.
Nilson Dos Santos, 39, told The Daily Mail that when he came to the coffee shop for an interview the owner seemed puzzled by the fact that he’s black.
Without asking any questions, the owner told Dos Santos “there are a lot of white customers at the café and I think the clients here want local people, not African people.” He then added, “We need to offer good service at this café and I think the coffee culture is more about white people.”
“I love it here, I am free here, that’s why I chose to stay. I’ve always felt welcomed and accepted. For me, it was never a problem that I am black until today,” he explained.
Dos Santos was shocked by what the café owner told him, and he was not sure how to react. At first he considered punching him, but he decided to take a different approach.
The barista stood up and asked costumers around him if they would mind being served by a black person. He wanted to let them know what had just transpired because he did not want the owner to keep discriminating against future potential employees. Costumers were disgusted by what they heard, and some even walked out in protest.
There was an immediate reaction on social media, and Forbes & Burton café started receiving harshly negative reviews. Some costumers even claimed a boycott.
The owner, known simply as “Steven” on news sites, moved to Australia from China a year ago and he defended his statements.
“My customers are white. I don’t think they want their coffee made by black people,” he said. Stevens added, “I didn’t ask any questions because I prefer the barista to be local, not from Italy or other countries. When I choose staff, maybe the waitresses are better with being local, the same with barista (sic). In some people’s opinions African people can’t make good coffee,” said Steven.
The cafe owner apologized to Dos Santos about what he said but did not change his opinion about hiring black baristas, saying he believes his customers can only receive “good service” from white baristas.
Despite the incident, Dos Santos, who grew up impoverished on the streets of Brazil, said he is still proud to be a citizen of Australia because he feels free and accepted there.
However, he plans to take the issue to court.