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Irish cereal cafe owner posts online rant about Channel 4 reporter

THE owner of a new London cafe that only serves breakfast cereal has posted an online rant about a journalist who asked him about gentrification in the area the business is based.

Belfast native Gary Keery abruptly ended an interview last week with Channel 4 News reporter Symeon Brown, telling him he did not like the questions he was being asked about poverty.

Last night the owner of the cafe posted an “open letter of complaint” on Facebook in which he accused the programme of “making a mockery out of me”.

Cereal Killer Cafe is based in the borough of Tower Hamlets in East London and serves breakfast cereal for £3.20 a bowl, more than double price of large value box of breakfast cereal from a supermarket.

“You obviously don't understand business if you think I don't have to put a mark-up on what I sell,” he said in the post on the cafe’s Facebook page. “It may be the poorest borough in London but let's not forget Canary Wharf is also in this borough but I am the one to blame eh?”

Tower Hamlets has the highest rate of child poverty in London, and is the third most deprived borough in the country. Despite this it also includes the skyscraper-filled financial centre Canary Wharf and has creeping gentrification on its western fringes.

In the open letter, Mr Keery said he had been busy during the interview.

“I feel what you have tried to do to me was completely unfair. I repeatedly told you I was too busy to do interviews, kept pushing me and pushing me even though I had a cafe full of customers wanting to be served,” he said.

The business owner said he should have be treated with respect by journalists, citing the proximity of the interview to ‘Small Business Saturday’, a day in which politicians celebrate local enterprises.

He said being asked about gentrification in the area constituted being “attacked”.

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“First of all you tried to blame me for the property prices in London before attacking me with questions about poverty,” he argued.

“I am a small business owner and am gambling everything I have in this business and you try to make a mockery out of me 4 days after 'small business Saturday' when we are supposed to support small businesses.”

The businessman said he employed 12 staff and that he would in the future help local charities and consider offering free breakfasts to local children.

“I am not the selfish **** you have made me out to be, although on my opening day I will admit it was not the most important thing for me,” he added.

Mr Keery signed his complaint letter "the worst person in the world" and concluded a post-script saying he would bill the reporter £3.20 for the bowl of cereal he had been given.

Channel 4 did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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