THE Brisbane owner of Di Bella coffee and the city’s “coffee king” has been criticised for a string of foul-mouthed social media outburst during the recent State of Origin match, some of which featured anti-gay slurs.
The coffee entrepreneur, Phillip Di Bella unleashed his insults against players, referees and commentators via his personal Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday night.
Lashing out at Channel 9 commentators, Di Bella also wrote: “Gould and Johns must give it to each other so hard in the sheds!!!”
Addressing the now-deleted remarks, Di Bella contacted the Star Observer to personally offer his apology to LGBTI community members who may have been offended by his comments.
“I want to sincerely offer my heartfelt apology to the LGBTI community for my poorly thought-out remarks and for any offense that may have been taken,” Di Bella said.
“They were stupid remarks said in the heat of the Origin moment and I never should have even said them to begin with. As soon as [causing offense to the LGBTI community] was brought to my attention, I wanted to apologise immediately.
“It was honestly not my intention and insulting a community that I’ve had long dealings with was the last thing I wanted to do.”
Di Bella pointed to several examples of his company’s endorsement and involvement with Queensland’s LGBTI community.
“Those who know me know those remarks are not who I really am. They were said in the heat of passion but were very wrong. I’m happy to cop any criticism on the chin and admit all fault.”
The online foul-mouthed spat drew the attention of mainstream media due Di Bella’s recent appointment as a key economic advisor by Brisbane Council Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.
De Bella also holds a number of other notable positions within local and state governments such as a placement last year within the Queensland Premier’s Advisory Board.
He also is a director of Tourism and Events Queensland and Brisbane Marketing, a council-funded initiative to sell the city around the globe.
Questions have been raised following his outburst over whether Di Bella is qualified to hold his positions, with Cr Milton Dick urging the Lord Mayor to stand Di Bella down and distance council from him.
However, Di Bella has offered an apology to the wider community on his Facebook page: “To my wonderful Facebook followers I must apologise for last nights (sic) outburst of comments and language during the state of origin… I completely understand it may have offended some people!!”
He also told the Star Observer that he was willing to do whatever it took to make amends to those he may have offended the LGBTI community.