Hipster London cafe called F***offee is slammed over 'racist' joke

Hipster East London cafe called F***offee is slammed over ‘racist’ Covid joke on shop sign saying ‘this is the longest something made in China has ever lasted’

  • F***offee shared an Instagram post of sign dubbed ‘racist’ by social media users
  • Cafe also condemned as fatphobic after a note reading ‘Sorry, no fatties’ posted 
  • Coffee shop in east London described as ‘provocative’ with ‘cheeky atmosphere’ 

A hipster cafe in London has been criticised over a ‘racist’ Covid joke it made on a shop sign saying: ‘This is the longest something made in China has ever lasted.’ 

F***offee, which has two branches in Bethnal Green, was also accused of fatphobia after a sign allegedly from outside the shop reading ‘Sorry, no fatties’ emerged online.

The cafe, which is described as ‘a provocative coffee shop with a cheeky atmosphere’, later responded to the outrage in a divisive post on Instagram.

It insisted: ‘We are not racist. We are not sexist,’ adding its social media has ‘adult content and humour and we make “jokes” because the world can be a harsh place to live in.’      

Criticism of the coffee shop emerged earlier this week when an Instagram post made on January 10 was circulated widely on social media. 

The photograph, taken outside the branch at 215 Bethnal Green Road, captured a black chalkboard reading: ‘This is the longest something made in China has ever lasted.’

F***offee, in east London, described as ‘a provocative coffee shop with a cheeky atmosphere’

It has been criticised over a ‘racist’ Covid joke it made on a shop sign saying: ‘This is the longest something made in China has ever lasted’

The message, appearing to refer to Covid-19, provoked outrage, with hundreds of social media users demanding the post be removed and the company apologise. 

One user said: ‘Disgrace, this is not acceptable. ‘

Another added: ‘How to ruin your business in two simple steps: Step 1: write racist blackboard message; Step 2: post photo of it online.’

Others called for whoever wrote the sign to be fired, adding: ‘Whoever allowed this board to be put on the street should also be fired.’

Some commenters worried about the impact the declaration may have on the racial harassment and abuse Asians have received since the start of the pandemic.

A woman said: ‘This is not right. Because of these comments, people like me and other Asian receive racial harassment and verbal/physical abuse. 

‘You do not understand the impact of such racial comments on other ethnic group.’

The cafe also received a backlash after an image allegedly from outside one of its east London branches of a sign reading ‘Sorry. No fatties’ emerged online

Another added: ‘Absolutely disgusting. Shame on you for your blatant, harmful racism. 

‘It’s because of your dismissive attitude to racism that perpetuates the normalisations of it.’ 

The cafe also received a backlash after an image allegedly from outside one of its east London branches of a ‘fatphobic’ sign emerged online.  

The photograph, posted to Twitter, shows a sign on a bench reportedly outside F***offee reading: ‘Sorry, no fatties.’

Sharing the image online, a woman said: ‘Just got sent this by a friend and before you defend it as “dark humour” it is not – it’s fatphobia.

‘If the bench isn’t strong [enough] to be sat on then don’t put it outside your coffee shop, or alternatively make it strong so anyone / multiple people can sit…’ 

The cafe later responded to the outrage in a divisive video post on Instagram

It insisted: ‘We are not racist. We are not sexist,’ adding its social media has ‘adult content and humour and we make “jokes” because the world can be a harsh place to live in’

The coffee shop often pitches controversial signs outside its doors, with recent additions shared to Instagram including ‘Help. If sales don’t pick up the boss is calling immigration.’  

Responding to the outrage on Instagram, a representative for F***offee accused a group of people from a ‘woke society’ of attacking her over the claims. 

The woman said: ‘Unlike you, I’m not going to repost all of the things that you guys have been saying because I don’t care to embarrass you and I just don’t care.

‘F***offee is an amazing place to work and yes I am proud to work here.

‘I’m proud to work here because the coffee that we source is from West Papua.’

She went on to explain how the cafe responsibly sources its products, adding it is ‘trying to help as many people as we can’ through this endeavour.

The woman, who works for the company, added: ‘So all you people saying “I will go and just go to Starbucks”, well OK, that’s fine.   

The message, appearing to refer to Covid-19, provoked outrage, with hundreds of social media users demanding the post be removed and the company apologise 

‘But F***offee stands for the freedom to express yourself, the freedom to be the person that you are, the freedom to make jokes for adults and people like us.’

However, the statement wasn’t received well by many on social media, with one user saying: ‘This is it though isn’t it? 

‘Just because you are comfortable with ‘jokes’ around race, fatphobia and ableism, it doesn’t mean that the wider public is comfortable with it.’

Lottie L’Amour, a fashion influencer from London, added: ‘There’s a way to still be edgy and provocative without being massively problematic and offensive. 

‘As a business you’ve got a legal requirement to not be racist, to not be fatphobic, to not be ableist or be discriminatory in any way – it would be very easy for someone to sue you for this, and the defense of “we’re just a bit edgy and we take the piss and look at what we do for the coffee industry” won’t help you. 

Others called for whoever wrote the sign to be fired, adding: ‘Whoever allowed this board to be put on the street should also be fired’

‘Supporting people in west Papua does not absolve the company of racist, fatphobic and ableist “jokes”, much like being a Black, queer woman who’s comfortable with self detrimental comedy doesn’t absolve the effect of the ‘jokes’ on the wider public.’

Danielle Vanier said: ‘Over 3 mins of talking and you said NOTHING.’ 

Others claimed that F***offee was showing a ‘lack of accountability’ with the statement, adding: ‘Just accept that you have hurt and harmed plus size people.’ 

The business previously provoked outrage shortly after opening in 2015, when its owner was threatened with legal action after refusing to remove their explicit shop name sign.  

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