A Bermagui coffee shop owner has received death threats after his cafe fueled controversies when its blackboard displaying an unpatriotic sign for the Australia Day went viral on January 25.
The Mister Jones open studio and espresso bar at Bermagui displayed a message to inform customers about the opening hours of the shop for Australia Day, but the inappropriate use of a word made the message controversial. It received huge criticism from netizens as soon as it went viral. The message read, “Yes we’re open on national dickhead day.”
Mister Jones’ owner said that the vandals were targeting him by sending death threats through voicemails. The photo grabbed public attention when a local, Rob Grimstone, took the original photograph of the sign and uploaded it on Facebook on Monday. The post was then shared by “Meanwhile in Australia’s” Facebook page, after which it went viral.
The cafe owner said that the sign was put “on a whim” and it was displayed only for 15 minutes. Within those minutes, the board message was photographed and has spread on social media. On the other hand, Grimstone, who took the photo, said that he was “disgusted in it as an Australian,” referring to the message the blackboard displayed. “It’s just not right,” he added as quoted by Bega District News.
Grimstone claimed that he received a call that said radio presenter Ray Hadley also mentioned the incident. He said he was happy to see the post has gone so far as he did not expect such huge response from the general public.
Following the spread of the message, the owner of Mister Jones began receiving “graphic and explicit death threats” on his voicemail account. “Over the last days, messages have been cascading through my email account containing unprintable abuse and describing group plans for physical attacks,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted the owner as saying. “My voicemail account has mercifully reached capacity and I’ve long stopped listening to the graphic and explicit death threats. These messages have been much more chilling than the thousands posted online.”
The cafe owner defended himself by saying that he did not deserve such harsh and disproportionate reaction from public on the message he used to address the Australia Day. “Indeed, taken on face value, the blackboard was possibly the most Australian thing that one could write about Australia Day, in a country that claims to be proud of its ‘larrikin’ irreverence and self-effacing humour,” he said, adding he did not target anyone in particular through the message.