Friday 9 December 2016

Australian café owner responds to 'graphic and explicit death threats' over joke sign 'displayed for fifteen minutes'

Published 28/01/2016 | 10:22

An Australian café owner has addressed outrage over a sign which referred to Australia Day as 'National D*ckhead Day'.

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Matt Chun, the owner of Mister Jones café in Bermagui, New South Wales, took to his personal Facebook page to address the outrage after a photo of the sign went viral.

He explained that the sign, which read 'Yes, we are open on National D*ckhead Day', was placed in his window "on a whim".

He quoted a newspaper report which said the photograph has received over 700,000 likes and 4,000 shares, writing that the "Facebook activity was primarily fuelled by the pages of several hard-right political organisations". He claimed that these pages were "advocating retaliation".

He added that "several hate pages were set up to target my business" and that he has received "unprintable abuse... graphic and explicit death threats" via voicemail alongside "thousands (of threats) posted online".

"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".

While cleaning up my little espresso bar on January 25, I placed a blackboard in my window, on a whim. It has since...

Posted by Matt Chun on Tuesday, 26 January 2016

He described the blackboard as a "convenient repository" for "bloodthirsty outrage, white anxiety and bitter intolerance" and said that it "arguably offended those who experienced a moment of self-recognition".

Chun wrote that the fury actually had a positive effect on his business, despite vandalism on his premise overnight. "On ‘Australia Day’ morning, the door locks to my business had been drilled out and the windows glued shut. Yet, we opened for trade".

"It was our biggest ‘Australia Day’ crowd on record. Many people travelled from as far as Batemans Bay in the North and Merimbula in the South to drink a coffee and have a laugh".

"Among these supporters, we were particularly happy to welcome esteemed members from some strong, local, and largely marginalised communities".

Chun ended his post writing that he "was not intending to create a social media frenzy... or national debate".

"The blackboard was written light-heartedly, and only displayed for 15 minutes".

However, he defended his aversion to Australia Day.

"Australia Day is a singular atrocity. Celebrating January 26 at best trivialises - and at worst glorifies - the invasion of this continent, declaration of terra nullius, massacre and attempted genocide of its 30,000 year old indigenous population".

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