Leeds Temple Donuts cafe owners respond to racism allegations in Instagram video statement

The co-owners of Temple Coffee and Donuts in Burley have issued a video statement responding to allegations of racism at their café.

Thursday, 11th June 2020, 3:26 pm
Temple Donuts in Leeds. Photo: SWNS
Temple Donuts in Leeds. Photo: SWNS

Earlier this week a woman posted on social media claiming she had been a victim of racist abuse whilst she was an employee at the cafe.

The woman alleged that she was called a "slave" and told to "go back to her own country" while working at the cafe.

Following the accusations, the social media accounts for the business were closed and the shop front was vandalised - with police seen guarding the cafe.

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A police spokesperson said: "Police have been made aware of recent comments on social media focused on a business in Kirkstall Road, Leeds, and that the premises was subsequently targeted with graffiti.

"The local neighbourhood policing team is speaking with all involved parties and taking appropriate action and will continue to monitor the situation."

In a five minute video released on Instagram on Wednesday night, cafe co-owners Simon Erl and Nadine Oxley addressed the accusations.

They said they were ‘sorry for the stress that has been caused to a former employee’ who had come forward with allegations of racial abuse.

The pair said they ‘always aim to create a vibrant environment that is safe and where our teams feel that they are respected and heard and valued.’

In response to questions of why their social media accounts had been closed down, Nadine said: “Basically, people started sharing images of our very young children, and they put their faces online, and our addresses and car registrations, and obviously that's going to come first in our minds to just protect them so we immediately just shut those stations down.

“We are heartbroken that a former employee didn't feel safe at Temple.”

Simon said he grew up in one of the most ‘culturally diverse countries in the world’ - New Zealand - and is ‘categorically against racism’.

Simon said: “I have friends and people that I've worked with across the whole world, who can attest to my character, and my political viewpoints.

“I read my children multicultural stories at bedtime and provide them with ethnic diverse toys and dolls and understand this doesn't absolve me of anything.

“This doesn't make me perfect.

“In my past I've drawn ignorant things that I'm extremely sorry for.

“I'm sorry that they've caused offence and hurt to anybody.

“I did those things out of stupidity and massive amounts of white privilege, but never ever out of hatred or any fascist beliefs.”

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