Coffee shop in London apologises over stream of offensive messages and pictures

Emily Cleary
·4-min read
F*ckoffee has been accused of posting racist and offensive boards outside its London shop (Instagram)
F*ckoffee has been accused of posting racist and offensive boards outside its London shop (Instagram)

A coffee shop owner has apologised after being accused of posting racist, homophobic and offensive comments on social media, and pleaded with people not to attack his staff.

The owner of F*ckoffee cafe in Bethnal Green, London, was called out after placing posters stating "no fatties" on benches outside the shop.

Other images and comments that have angered passers-by include a sign in January, which read: "This is the longest that something made in China has ever lasted."

Twitter user Luisa-Christie, 31, from London, shared the pictures on a Twitter thread writing: "Hi @F*ckoffee_HQ wtf is this? 

A sign placed on a bench outside the coffee shop caused uproar in the local community and on social media
A sign placed on a bench outside the coffee shop caused uproar in the local community and on social media. (Twitter)

"Just got sent this by a friend & before you defend as 'dark humour' it’s not – it’s fatphobia. 

"If the bench isn’t strong to be sat on then don’t put it outside your coffee shop, or alternatively make it strong so anyone / multiple people can sit."

She immediately received a reply from content creator Katie Meehan saying: "They're racist AF too" with an image attached of racially contentious posts.

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On F*ckoffee's official Twitter page, the owner wrote: "If you want to send aggressive messages to anyone, please stop harassing staff and attack me. I will be happy to answer your concerns. We are not racist, I just misjudged a stupid joke."

A full apology was pasted, in which they said: "“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any racially sensitive imagery that has been posted on behalf of F*ckoffee.

“I take full responsibility. As a black person, I saw this as satirical and mocking the stereotypes with which society stigmatises us.

“My perspective is not yours, and you should not be forced to view it. I will stress that our humour may cut close to others’ sensitivities, but at no point does it emanate malicious intent.”

The owner of F*ckoffee has apologised for offence caused and asked that critics do not harrass his staff (Twitter)
The owner of F*ckoffee has apologised for offence caused and asked that critics do not harrass his staff. (Twitter)

However, the response has been roundly criticised as lacking in sincerity or intent.

“Yikes what a nonapology apology,” commented writer Joie Ha.

“The post IS racist. That’s taking ownership and responsibility is half way to an apology,” another stated.

“Educating and correcting yourselves as an organisation is the next. The post was up since January and wasn’t deleted until recently due to the overwhelming feedback. 

"This shows a lack of awareness to racism in the UK. As a Asian British raised in East London, I am offended by this apology and more so that I’ve been informed your organisation is run by a white person. His statement is still pending.”

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Social media users have accused the coffee shop of racism and prejudice (@F*ckoffee Instagram)
Social media users have accused the coffee shop of racism and prejudice (@F*ckoffee Instagram)
The venue has long used provocative messaging as part of its publicity campaign (Yahoo News UK)
The venue has long used provocative messaging as part of its publicity campaign (Yahoo News UK)

“A white man literally owns this business. This isn’t an apology,” said another.

“Abysmal apology. Educate yourselves before you pull the race card on your internalised xenophobia,” one person said.

“Lame AF overpriced chain trying to gain publicity at the cost of others,” another added, before comments were switched off on the post.

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A former employee of the venue told Metro.co.uk the shop is run by "two white dudes in their 50s" and that she regularly heard "very problematic" and "oppressive stuff". 

Laurine Payet, 22, who worked at the coffee shop between February and March, said: ‘On my first day [Adrian] told me not to say “sir” or “madam” to anyone… because it “can annoy whatever they are”. 

"There’s rainbow flags outside and inside the shop – it’s attractive for queer people but it’s a marketing thing. He knows there are lots of queer people in east London. But the signs they have put up are very offensive."

Yahoo News UK contacted F*ckoffee for comment but had not received a response at the time of publishing.

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