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Australia McDonald's franchisee removed after video shows him berating Aboriginal neighbour

13:51  15 december  2019
13:51  15 december  2019 Source:   theage.com.au

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McDonald ' s franchisee who told an indigenous artist he wasn't a real Aboriginal while his wife tried to pull down The distressing footage shows a white couple berating an Aboriginal family. It was filmed in Mildura, Victoria After she fails, the calm victim tells his neighbour : 'It's too strong for you, Karen!'

Video provided by Sky News

McDonald's has taken over the operation of two restaurants in north-west Victoria after a viral video showed a franchise owner berating an Indigenous artist while a woman attempts to tear down an Aboriginal flag.

Mildura-based Indigenous artist Robby Wirramanda filmed the video, which appears to show his neighbours, Karen Ridge and Rob Vigors, walk onto his property. Ms Ridge is seen attempting to remove the flag from Mr Wirramanda's vehicle, while Mr Vigors questions the artist's Indigenous ancestry.

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A video showing a white couple trying to tear down an Aboriginal flag outside a family' s home has emerged online. But their neighbours seemed to take serious issue with the emblem, with the man accusing them of 'being only 1 per cent Aboriginal '.

Ms Ridge tries to tear down the Aboriginal flag.© Twitter Ms Ridge tries to tear down the Aboriginal flag. a person standing in front of a car: Mr Vigors pictured in the video© Twitter Mr Vigors pictured in the video

“Which 1 per cent of you is Aboriginal? You’ve got nothing in you that’s Aboriginal. You make me laugh," Mr Vigors says in the video.

"OK, you can do some nice paintings and everything … don’t get me wrong, I respect that work, but you claiming to be Aboriginal? You make me laugh."

During the encounter, he urged Mr Wirramanda to share the video. "This is the problem with this country and this is the problem with so many people in this area. Let it go viral, because people like you make a mockery of true Aboriginals."

In a statement released on Sunday afternoon, McDonald's confirmed it had taken over operation of Mr Vigors' two stores in Mildura and Irymple.

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"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.”

Mr Wirramanda, who moved to the area four months ago, said he was in his garage painting at the time of the incident on Friday night.

"I only fly the flag when I'm in the garage painting," he said.

"I was in there with the whole family when we saw [Mr Vigors and Ms Ridge] coming down the driveway, so I turned the light off and tried to shut the door, but they just came in and turned it back on.

"We're opening a gallery in Mildura next year so we were all in there working our guts out trying to finish some projects."

The video was among the top trending subjects on Twitter on Sunday and was shared and viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

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'To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement,' Kalanick said.

Mr Wirramanda said he was surprised by the amount of support he had received online.

"I didn't think I'd filmed anything special because this kind of thing happens to Indigenous people all the time," he said.

"I guess it's because it was caught on film."

As Ms Ridge tries and fails to rip down the flag, Mr Wirramanda cries out, "it's too strong for you, Karen". The hashtag #toostrongforyoukaren quickly gained popularity.

As the couple left, Ms Ridge called out, "go and live in your f---ing humpy down the river".

One of Mr Wirramanda's children shared a statement from her mother, Jackie Wirramanda, to Twitter following the incident.

"[They] behaved this way in front of my children. They entered our garage where I was painting," she said in the statement.

"I feel sickened, as does my family."

Ms Wirramanda lauded her husband for the manner in which he handled the situation.

"I must say though, Robby stayed super calm throughout ... He is a legend in my eyes and also that in my son's."

Mr Wirramanda said he would continue to fly the Aboriginal flag.

"I'm actually thinking about painting my car red, black and yellow now," he said.

The Age has attempted to contact Mr Vigors and Ms Ridge for comment.

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