Oldtown White Coffee: We are investigating ad alleged to be discriminatory

  • Nation
  • Monday, 22 Sep 2014

PETALING JAYA: An Oldtown White Coffee recruitment advertisement that went viral on social media for allegedly racial discrimination is being investigated, the cafe chain said on Monday.

"The Recruitment Notice was posted by the Franchisee for the new outlet at Austin Heights, Johor Bahru. We are currently in contact with the Franchisee, Mr Somasundaram @ Ramesh A/L Rajendran as the Recruitment Notice was drafted by him. We would like to clarify that Oldtown White Coffee management was not aware of the contents of the said Recruitment Notice," the chain said on its official Facebook page.

The chain added that immediate and appropriate action would be taken to ensure such advertisements were not circulated again.

Oldtown White Coffee issued the statement after an outpouring of anger on its official Facebook page, which condemned the recruitment advertisement which began circulating on social media on Sept 20.

The advertisement, which also announced the upcoming launch of the chain's Taman Mount Austin outlet said that the outlet was looking to hire 12 wait staff, six cooks and four supervisors - with priority being given to Malay and Chinese applicants.

Johor State Unity and Human Resources Executive chairman R. Vidyanathan said that he was shocked and upset with the job vacancy advertisement placed by a famous coffee franchisee for workers which stated that they preferred Chinese and Malay candidates.

"Why do you place an advertisement preferring Chinese and Malay workers only. Why can’t Indians be waiters or pour coffee?" a visibly upset Vidyanathan told The Star’s JB office.

The sparked a wave of outrage on the chain's Facebook page with people like Sarawanan Selvarajoo commenting on Oldtown's Malaysia Day greeting; "This is how Oldtown celebrate 'Hari Malaysia'? Only selected races welcomed into your premises?"

Another, Kishan Kumar commented, "You do know that we live in a multiracial society, so Malays, Chinese and Indians are practically friends. And you get to see that harmony in Oldtown where they sit down and drink coffee!!! Why the racism! We want an explanation!"

In response, Oldtown White Coffee thanked Kishan and apologised for the advertisement

"On behalf of the Franchisee, Oldtown White Coffee management would like to sincerely apologise for the unacceptable and offensive content on the Recruitment Notice. As a home grown Malaysian brand, we value everyone equally and it has never been our intention or the intention of the Franchisee to make any individuals feel slighted or offended in any way," it said.
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