A vegan cafe in Sydney, Australia, that declared itself a “safe space” for straight Trump supporters is set to shutter less than a month later.
With a booming Joe Biden victory sending shockwaves across the world, Hale & Hearty, based in the Waterloo neighbourhood, took to Instagram to announce its closure, before deleting both the post and the account itself.
It comes after owner Mark De Costa became a lightning rod for criticism earlier this month. The cafe served up a slew of homophobic, transphobic, racist and ableist abuse against its own customers after calling for people to attend a “Big MAGA night” on 3 November – election day.
De Costa responded to the backlash by declaring Hale & Hearty a “Donald Trump safe zone”, but this won’t be the case for much longer.
In the since-deleted Instagram post which, according to screen captures was uploaded Monday (16 November), the eatery’s firebrand owner announced it will cease trading Sunday (22 November).
“We are closing and would like to thank all those who supported us over the last five years,” read a statement imposed over a photograph of De Costa and his family.
“Seven more days left and then it’s out.”
The caption added: “Thank you to all! It’s time for a new venture.”
Bye Felicia! 💋
Hale and Hearty Waterloo cafe have announced they're closing after the backlash to their claim last week that the 'gay community… aren't welcome here' and that they were a 'straight sydney safe zone'. 😳 😳 😳 pic.twitter.com/3zguhdoHhy
— James Breko (@breko) November 16, 2020
On the company’s website, a page that once displayed its Instagram feed now loads up with nothing.
Vegan cafe set to close after calling itself a ‘Trump safe space’.
After Hale & Hearty was declared “a straight Sydney safe zone”, the cafe’s Facebook page showed it responding to customers who said they’d no longer be spending their money there by asking: “Are you a poof?”
If you're in Sydney and like vegan food then avoid Hale and Hearty unless you're also a raging racist homophobic pile of garbage. https://t.co/UxKYOLo9Pl
— Beau Windon (@WhoIsBeauWindon) November 1, 2020
Through various statuses and comments posted on Hale & Hearty’s Facebook and Instagram account, as well as private messages sent by De Costa, the company sent several disparaging comments while also claiming that it is a “safe space” for everyone.
And that includes the “Hillsong community”, a network of pentecostal churches with a troubling track record of anti-LGBT+ practises.
De Costa also noted that he is both a Trump supporter and a supporter of the Australian lawmaker Pauline Hanson, who founded the right-wing populist party One Nation.
In a vlog post uploaded to the company Instagram, he said he doesn’t care about his critics and doesn’t want “your masks, your f***ing vaccines”.
He later then told News Corp: “We’ve always supported the gay and LGBT community. When they were hosting the plebiscite we posted: ‘Yes we support you.'”
Around a week after the backlash, Hale & Hearty’s Facebook page, which is still running, posted a tacit acknowledgement of the controversy, saying: “The burgers aren’t homophobic or racist at Hale & Hearty!”
PinkNews contacted Hale & Hearty for comment.