THE owner of a Brisbane burger restaurant has profusely apologised for using homophobic language in an abusive reaction to an online negative review.

James D’Ath of DA Burger in the suburb of New Farm, which has a high LGBTI population, has accused the owner of food review blog Cook Suck of being a “little digital faggot” in response to an unfavourable comment posted eight months ago.

“You are a fucking wanker,” D’Ath wrote, under the alias of “Jimbo Woo”, in a private message to Cook Suck’s Facebook page that was later made public.

“Do you the courage (sic)? To have a human interaction…Or are you just a gutless worthless scared opinionated little digital faggot? I dare you to experience face to face discussion on what you post in cyberspace.”

After a response from Cook Suck owner Dahl, D’Ath said that his initial message was “a tad quick of (sic) the mark” and defended his store by saying that his business is about “getting abused kids jobs”, a subject D’Ath said he was passionate about.

“When my primary goal is helping kids go through what I went through as a kid… Suicides… Rampant pedaphilia (sic) and drug abuse… The world is nasty enough man,” D’Ath wrote.

Dahl defended his comments about DA Burger and said that his review was “hardly something worth sending targeted abuse to some stranger who runs a satirical food based blog on the internet”.

“I certainly don’t call customers who perhaps don’t like my products ‘fucking wanker[s]‘, ‘faggots’ in the most derogatory way possible,” Dahl wrote in response to D’Ath (see below).

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(Screenshots courtesy of CookSuck.com)

 

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(Screenshots courtesy of CookSuck.com)

Speaking to the Star Observer, D’Ath was visibly upset, remorseful and expressed regret over the use of homophobic language.

He acknowledged the tirade was inexcusable and said that he was not homophobic, pointing to his passion for helping disenfranchised young people facing drug, homeless and sexual abuse issues.

“I would like to acknowledge and apologise for offensive statements I made via Facebook. I am sorry and embarrassed by my actions,” D’Ath said in a public statement yesterday.

“I sincerely regret my approach to dealing with the situation that arose and also regret and apologise for my offensive choice of words. The words I used do not represent my feelings towards the gay and lesbian community and I personally apologise to anyone I have offended.”

Last year DA Burger formed a partnership with the Brisbane Youth Service to nurture and support troubled young people via training and mentorship programs within the restaurant.

Having experienced similar hardships, D’Ath said that he was passionate about improving the lives of Brisbane youth in a meaningful way through his business’ work placement program.

“I would like to point out that DA’Burger actively assists homeless youth including those from the gay and lesbian community with employment opportunities as well as giving hundreds of free food vouchers to feed homeless teens from all walks of life,” he said.

“I highly value the support that the local community has given my business and want people to know that DA’Burger was established in part to assist those in the community who need it the most. I am extremely embarrassed that I lost my cool and that my offensive comments have now overshadow this.

“Once again… My sincere apology for any offence caused..(sic)”

Speaking to previous experiences of homophobic language and his business, D’Ath highlighted an instance where he had blacked out a section on his restaurant’s graffiti wall – where customers are freely allowed to write comments – that read “homos suck”.

“Obviously this remark would be offensive to gays and lesbians and it doesn’t sit right with my belief system and I have an obligation to edit that sort of completely inappropriate language in my restaurant,” D’Ath told the Star Observer.

“That should be done and it’s everyone’s obligation to make sure that sort of language remains unacceptable. If you see offensive bumper stickers, do what I do and peel them off.”

Meanwhile, the owner of the “over-the-top satirical food blog where [he] anonymously insults people’s food” told the Star Observer that D’Ath’s comments showed a complete lack of professionalism.

“It’s just unacceptable to speak such targeted and derogatory language,” Dahl said.

“This will sound a bit rich coming from me due to the nature of my blog itself, but what I do is purely satire, it’s not meant to be taken seriously, anyone who reads my blog would know this.”

After being contact by D’Ath, Dahl acknowledged he was genuine in his charitable efforts and his remorse, but said there was never an excuse for derogatory language.

“[D’Ath] has come across as a person with a charitable bone however this doesn’t give you a ticket to hurl out homophobic insults to some stranger on the internet,” Dahl said.

“I’m a pretty relaxed person, I wouldn’t have even cared if he’d have said something like ‘well I think you and your blog sucks!’  I would have just laughed it off  it was the nature of his language that really unnerved me.”

Dahl said that he did not support a boycott of the restaurant and there were lessons to be learnt by everyone with respect to the power of language in everyday life.

“D’Ath seems like a kind enough person, he has actually just offered to fly down to Sydney to personally apologise to me,” Dahl said.

“It’s not me he should be apologising to, but the LGBT community in general  that sort of bullshit he opened with is just not on. I actually believe he’s not a bad person, and just hope he learns from his mistake.”

(Photo credit: Urbanspoon.com.au)

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