Vegan cafe owner explodes at customers
WARNING: Explicit Language
It's not often you come across a pro-Trump cafe in Australia, let alone one that is vegan and in the inner Sydney suburb of Waterloo.
However Mark Da Costa, who heads Hale and Hearty, is a loud and proud supporter of the US President, along with controversial Australian politician Pauline Hanson.
"TODAY WE ANNOUNCE that we are a @realdonaldtrump safe zone. A place to discuss what's in your heart without prejudice," Mr Da Costa wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. "Hold tight people freedom of speech will be back. To all our past American friends and guests stay strong."
Mr Da Costa's backing of the US leader has sparked outrage from some online, with social media users branding his post "idiotic" and giving his cafe negative reviews.
"Seriously focus on your business. Your business is suffering. Stop with all this political crap," one person wrote on Facebook.
"Focus on what's positive and exciting. PS You have lost me as a customer along with my family. We were there on opening night and was blown away with your food, service and restaurant. What you have done is disgusting. Get your s**t together."
The Hale & Hearty Facebook page also exploded with anger after a negative comment from a customer.
The customer wrote: I certainly have been there, prior to the owners (sic) very public and questionable expressions. I was underwhelmed.
Hale & Hearty responded: Go f**k yourself you narrow minded pr**k. We are vegan. Not political and you are a loser.
Mr Da Costa says the "left wing fake vegan community" are trying to destroy his family business after his political views were exposed online.
He told the Wentworth Courier a university student posted screenshots from his private social media accounts in which he expressed support for Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson.
"He posted to some of the most popular vegan sites and told all the vegans in Sydney to boycott Hale and Hearty and avoid us like the plague because we are racists, bigots, transphobes," Mr Da Costa said.
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"To go and destroy a family business is and was a terrifying experience.
"We faced the destruction of my business via left wing vegan trolls so I thought, 'How do I defend myself?'"
He has since shared videos on Hale and Hearty's official Facebook page telling followers who he is "face-to-face".
"Hey guys how you doing? It's Mark here, the most racist vegan on the planet, here to tell you today we are doing $10 plant based pancakes," he said in a video posted this week.
"So if you want Sydney's best pancakes with a side of racism, come and see us."
The cafe owner said the small family-run business had its busiest days on Wednesday since associating the cafe with being in support of Trump.
"Wow, what a night we had, busiest night on record on a Wednesday so thank you. That was largely in part to the Trump supporters who came out to support me," he said in a separate video.
"Let's just get something clear - you're all inboxing me, complaining about me and the business.
"We make good pancakes, good burgers, our staff are amazing, all from different cultures. So come in, don't be shy. It is a Trump safe zone as it is a LGBT safe zone.
"Peace be with you Sydney, no more rants. I ain't going crazy, I know exactly what I'm doing," Mr Da Costa said as he pointed to his Trump T-shirt.
However, his political views have continued to be slammed by his social media followers.
"It is getting a bit out of control here with your political posts!!" one person wrote, adding "I totally agree with freedom of speech … but just stick to your business, food, veganism etc in regards to your posts!!"
"What an idiotic, virtue signalling post," another person wrote.
Mr Da Costa, a long-time resident of Redfern and Surry Hills, told the Wentworth Courier, he is "not backing down"
"It's do or die now for this business now that I've laid my chips down on the table."
Originally published as Vegan cafe owner explodes at customers