Australia Day sign in Bermagui creates outrage

CONTROVERSY: The sign erected in Mister Jones in Bermagui on January 25. Photo: Facebook

CONTROVERSY: The sign erected in Mister Jones in Bermagui on January 25. Photo: Facebook

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A sign erected in a Bermagui coffee shop just before Australia Day has created outrage on the internet. 

A warning to readers, this story contains content that some may find offensive. 

On January 25, a blackboard sign was put up in the Mister Jones open studio and espresso bar in Bermagui saying “Yes, we’re open on national dickhead day” – a reference to them being open for business on Australia Day.

A photograph of this sign has since gone viral on social media. 

On the night of January 25 it was posted on the Meanwhile in Australia Facebook page, which is “liked” by about 700,000 people, and as of 10am on January 26 was shared 2700 times and had 1600 comments, with the majority deriding the sign. 

While most of those who shared the post were individuals, some were pages such as Truthophobes - Exposing the Truth about Islam, Aussies against Islam and Sharia law, Reclaim Australia Rally - Canberra and Australians United Against Sharia Law.

It is understood the official Mister Jones Facebook page has been taken down, but a new page called the Mister Jones Coffee Shop had been set up, possibly by a Facebook group called Aussie Infidels early on the morning of January 26.

This page was removed from Facebook on Tuesday morning.

The fake Facebook page published a photo of two of the coffee shop’s staff under the line “here are two good reasons for birth control”, the phone number of the shop’s owner and has encouraged people to contact the shop and leave feedback. 

CONTROVERSY: A screenshot from the "Mister Jones Coffee Shop" Facebook page created on January 26. Photo: Facebook

CONTROVERSY: A screenshot from the "Mister Jones Coffee Shop" Facebook page created on January 26. Photo: Facebook

Bermagui Chamber of Commerce president Keith Dowden was disappointed the coffee shop had erected the sign and said doing so “displayed a lack of dignity and respect”. 

While he was sure the sign had upset some tourists, he did not think it would impact on businesses in Bermagui.  

“But it’s not the sort of image I think the town should be projecting,” Mr Dowden said. 

He had received several calls about the issue and was glad it had come down on the afternoon of January 25. 

“In the short time it was up it probably created mixed feelings,” Mr Dowden said.  

“He [the owner of Mister Jones] is entitled to his own views, but he has to realise a lot of people don’t feel the same way as he does.

“[The owner] does have a history of being a non-conformist.”

On Australia Day 2015, at the entrance to the the coffee shop there was a sign stating “Strictly no patriotism beyond this point”.

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