McDonald’s has fired one of its franchise owners in Australia amid outrage over a video which showed him berating a neighbour while questioning whether he was a “true” Aboriginal man.
The video was filmed by the neighbour – Aboriginal artist Robby Wirramanda – at his home, and was later shared widely.
It also shows a woman identified as “Karen” attempting to rip down an Aboriginal flag at the house.
The pair in the video have not responded publicly to the backlash.
McDonald’s identified the man as one of its licensees, Robert Vigors, who had overseen two restaurants in Victoria, in the towns of Mildura and Irymple.
The fast food chain said it had “taken over” operation of the restaurants, describing Mr Vigors’ comments as “unacceptable” – echoing condemnation in the wider community.
“Robert Vigors has left the system and is no longer involved,” McDonald’s said in a statement.
What was said in the video?
The footage does not show what led to the confrontation outside Mr Wirramanda’s house, but captures a heated exchange.
“Which 1% of you is Aboriginal, mate?” Mr Vigors is heard saying. “You’ve got nothing in you that’s Aboriginal. You claiming to be Aboriginal? You make me laugh.”
In response, Mr Wirramanda asks: “What is a true Aboriginal?”
The woman, who appears to be with Mr Vigors, is also seen unsuccessfully trying to pull down an Aboriginal flag attached to the house.
Mr Wirramanda responds by telling her “it’s too strong for you Karen” and accuses her of racism.
The phrase #TooStrongForYouKaren trended on Twitter on Sunday after the video gained attention online.
The Daily Mail Australia reported that Karen had told them she had received death threats since the video and did not feel safe commenting further.
Mr Wirramanda told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation his family had posted the footage to spread awareness about racism in Australia.
The state MP for Mildura, Ali Cupper, tweeted that the incident made her “worry about how deep and widespread this problem may be”.
“This is not just anyone screaming at the Aboriginal flag, it’s two privileged, wealthy educated business leaders,” she said.