McDonald’s franchisee dumped after racist tirade

By Nick Hall | 16 Dec 2019 View comments

A McDonald’s franchisee in rural Victoria has paid the ultimate price for verbally abusing a neighbour and questioning his Indigenous heritage.

In a video posted to Twitter on Saturday, McDonald’s franchisee Rob Vigors can be seen confronting neighbour Robby Wirramanda over an Aboriginal flag flying on the property.

Vigors and a woman, believed to be Karen Ridge then engage in a verbal argument, with the woman attempting to tear the flag down. However, in a cruel twist of poetic justice, she is unable to dislodge the flag from its perch, prompting Wirramanda to remark ‘”it’s too strong for you Karen!”

 

As the confrontation escalates, Wirramanda can be heard calling the woman a “racist pig”, which in turn provokes Vigors to question the validity of Wirramanda’s cultural identity.

Pointing to the camera, Vigors asks “which one per cent of you is Aboriginal, mate? You’ve got nothing in you that’s Aboriginal.”

“You claiming to be Aboriginal? You make me laugh. People like you make a mockery of true Aboriginals,” Vigors continues.

The argument then sees Wirramanda ask the question, “what’s a true Aboriginal?”

The couple eventually leave the property defeated, but not before the woman quips, “go and live in your f****** humpy down the river”.

McDonald’s franchisee under fire

The video, which was posted to Twitter by a relative of Wirramanda has since received over 2000 retweets, with the phrase #toostrongforyoukaren now trending. The actions of the McDonald’s franchisee have been widely condemned, with independent Mildura MP Ali Cupper labelling it blatant racism.

“Perhaps the only good to come out of this shameful incident will be that it serves as a catalyst for a conversation about the depth of racism in our community and the adequacy of current measures to address it. Tomorrow I will be contacting the Chair and Deputy Chair of the First People of the Millewa Mallee to start this conversation, and on the front gate of our office, we will be hanging the Aboriginal flag,” Cupper posted on Twitter.

“People like Rob and Karen want Aboriginal people to ‘stay in their lane’, because a big part of their self-esteem relies on being ‘superior’ to others.”

While Cupper’s response slammed the pair for their unjustified attack, possibly the most damning response came from McDonald’s itself.

In a statement, the iconic burger business revealed Vigors had since been removed from the operator position, with the company assuming control of his Mildura and Irymple restaurants.

“McDonald’s confirms the Company has taken over the operation of the Mildura and Irymple restaurants, effective immediately, and Robert Vigors has left the system and is no longer involved,” the company said.

“McDonald’s will be engaging with its employees regarding the change in arrangements, to ensure the ongoing operation of the restaurants.”

Speaking with SBS, a McDonald’s spokesperson confirmed that an investigation into the fracas was ongoing.

“The comments made are unacceptable and do not reflect the beliefs of the company as an inclusive workplace for our employees and customers. The matter is currently under investigation,” the spokesperson told SBS.