Typo sparks ‘racist’ backlash
A FRUIT grocer in Queensland says it made a simple typo on a seemingly lighthearted post about the ripeness of avocados which sparked widespread outrage.
Charlie's Fruit Market's meme shows cartoon drawings of an avocado throughout the week, starting out fresh, but too hard on Monday, through to a dark and supposedly inedible shade by Thursday.
It all seems innocent until you read the caption.
"We ALL know those feels …," the caption on the reads on the grocer's Instagram page. "Love our Avocados … hate our Abocados."
Hundreds shared the post on social media - with many claiming the post was "racist" and "disgusting". Many even called for a boycott of the Brisbane-based business.
However, Johnny Tabet the owner of Charlie's responded to the criticism with a lengthy and "heartfelt" apology on Facebook overnight.
"Our wonderful social media manager, who has been with us from the start, made a terrible typo last night on our post," he wrote. "This is the same lady who was instrumental in us not celebrating Australia Day and respecting the traditional owners of this land. That's why we believe her when she says this is a typo."
Mr Tabet goes on to describe how the issues of racism hits home, as he opened Charlie's after he arrived in Australia from Lebanon.
"There is no way we would ever, EVER put up a racist joke. This is just not something we would ever do. We would never jeopardise our business like that or hurt people just because they are racially different. I cannot express this enough.
"We are not trying to cover up or hide anything. Racism is unacceptable! This was never meant to be a joke about the wonderful original owners of this land but a joke about how quickly avocados turn black."
Mr Tabet added he saw the original post when he was at home with his children.
"I thought it was a bit strange, so I messaged my social media girl and said: 'Do you know why this is getting so much hate?'
"Moments later, she replied: 'Oh my god. I've misspelled avocados'."
Mr Tabet told news.com.au: "The next morning, it was getting worse and worse."
"I made an apology, and it didn't go well."
"It was an apology from my heart. I don't know what else I can do. I'm hurt it's been out there and taken like that" he told news.com.au, clearly emotional from the incident.
"We've been shaking all day today, I couldn't sleep. I don't know how to fix it.
"I feel sick in the stomach."
Mr Tabet says he is worried about the social media staff member who made the mistake.
"I had to drive to her house last night to see if she was alive. She's a person that would never, ever do it. The B is next to the V."
"Even her apology isn't going down well. People don't want to believe her."
However, not everybody was convinced by the apology.
"I'm not sure how this could be a typo," one commenter wrote in response to the statement. "Saying you like avocados but you hate avocados? It doesn't make sense in that context."
Others jumped in to support the grocer - adding the "v" and "b" keys are right next to each other on a keyboard so the mistake couldn't easily be made.
"I had to search for the typo," wrote one Facebook user. "But everyone makes mistakes and you've apologised. I don't see why there is still negativity.
"If we as Aboriginal people don't learn to acknowledge and accept an apology for a mistake that I'm sure we've all done then we are only enabling ourselves. We can't move forward in unity if we can't accept someone's obvious mistake."
The original post has since been removed from the Charlie's Fruit Market's Instagram page.
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