Pub staff fired after spat with neo-Nazi

Pub staff fired after spat with neo-Nazi

A Melbourne pub has fired two members of its staff after one of them allegedly spat in the beer of a customer during a political argument.

The incident, which reportedly started when one of the employees took issue with the customer’s neo-Nazi tattoo, happened at The Irish Times pub on Little Collins Street on Tuesday, August 2.

Footage of the immediate aftermath, first published by The Herald Sun, shows a group of men confronting the male bartender.

“I’d like it if you guys (would) leave,” the bartender says.

“I want to have my say,” one of the customers shoots back.

“Go ahead. What do you have to say?” asks the bartender.

“You spat in the bloke’s beer,” says the customer, which the employee acknowledges with the word “yeah”.

“End of discussion. I don’t give a rat’s arse if you don’t like what he wears, what he chooses in his particular life. At the end of the day mate, you spat in the bloke’s beer.”

“It was a sign of disrespect,” the bartender explains.

“You reckon it’s appropriate to spit in a guy’s beer?” the man says.

“If I went to my work and started spitting in my boss’s face, you reckon he’s going to accept that? It makes me feel ill?”

“If it makes you feel ill, the bathroom’s upstairs,” quips the bartender.

“So now you’re being smart. You can’t help yourself,” says the customer.

“Most Irishmen know how to fight,” a second patron interjects, alluding to the employee’s Irish accent.

“I don’t know how to fight, man. I know how to get beat up,” replies the bartender.

“If you’re going to be a smartass and you’re going to spit in people’s beers, you may need to be able to back up what you do,” the second customer says.

As the group of men prepares to leave, one of them asks what time the bartender’s shift ends. He also asks for the employee’s name and phone number.

“At the end of the day, it’s time for you guys to go,” the employee says.

On Tuesday, the business posted an apology to the customers on its Facebook page.

“The Irish Times management would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Jimeone Roberts and his friends Stefanos, Neil Erikson, Thomas Sewell and Ricky T for the incident that took place on August 2,” it said.

“Following the incident, the Irish Times management took immediate disciplinary action by terminating the two employees involved in the event, which violated our workplace code of conduct.

“The Irish Times management team strongly disapproves of the ex-employee’s unprofessional conduct by spitting into the patron’s drink as a consequence of a discussion with the patron over a political topic.

“As part of our commitment to provide the highest level of service to our patrons, we will continue to reinforce that all staff must remain respectful towards our patrons at all times to avoid any such future recurrence.”

In a subsequent statement posted on Wednesday, the pub said it had “followed the legal advice in taking disciplinary action” and stressed it did “not want to be in the centre of any political views or topics”.

“We would appreciate your understanding and support on this matter,” it asked its followers.

News.com.au has contacted The Irish Times for further comment.

Mr Roberts, Mr Erikson and Mr Sewell are all prominent far-right figures.

Earlier this month a magistrate slammed Mr Roberts for putting up anti-Semitic posters in Melbourne’s streets, calling his actions among “the most disgusting, vile, repugnant acts of anti-Semitism and racial behaviour that I have ever seen”.

Magistrate David Starvaggi also called his behaviour “tantamount to pure evil and vile hatred that has got no place in modern Australian society”.

Speaking to The Herald Sun, Mr Roberts said the incident with the pub’s employees was sparked by a tattoo on his right arm.

The tattoo is a Sonnenrad, or “sun wheel,” a symbol which was used by the Nazis in Germany and has since been adopted by neo-Nazis and white nationalists.

“The bartender hassled me about a tattoo before instigating a political discussion,” he said.

“He then asked: ‘Do you support multiculturalism?’ He didn’t like hearing the word ‘no’ to this, so he spat into my beer during a national pandemic.

“He then refunded the beer, and associates pursued it further via the owner of the establishment. As a result, he and anyone that showed solidarity with that act got rightfully fired.

“As a white Australian, I should be able to have a beer in any pub or bar in this country without having my food or drink contaminated because people disagree with my views. Imagine the hysteria if the roles in this situation were reversed.”

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