"This is the beautiful English he speaks."
The owners of a high-end Pakistani restaurant have come under fire after they mocked one of their worker’s English-speaking skills and posted the footage online.
The eatery, Cannoli by Cafe Soul, is in Islamabad and the owners, Uzma and Deeya, were seen talking to the manager, Awais.
In the video, the two owners explained that they were “bored” so they decided to introduce Awais to the viewers.
Awais told his employers that he has been at the restaurant for nine years. Uzma and Deeya then asked how many English classes he had taken.
The restaurant manager replies: “Three.”
The owners then tell Awais to say a sentence in English.
In the video, Awais appears nervous and when he tries to speak in English, he stutters his words and his English becomes broken.
At the end of the video, the two owners laugh at his English-speaking skills before Uzma mockingly says:
“So this is our manager who has been with us for nine years. This is the beautiful English he speaks.”
Deeya then interrupts: “This is what we pay for.”
Uzma adds that he is on a good salary.
The video was reportedly shared on the restaurant’s Instagram page and was described as “banter”. However, the video was removed within minutes.
Social media users had seen the video and it was shared on Twitter. Many were enraged by the owners’ behaviour.
How about you all boycott Cannoli by Cafe Soul in Gol Market, F-7/3, #Islamabad and teach these arrogant women that it's not funny humiliating your staff or anyone because they don't speak fluent English. pic.twitter.com/kvhgDISNGc
— Islamabad (@Islaamabad) January 21, 2021
One person said: “This is just so sad. Class privilege, colonial hangover, and depravity of Pakistani elite.”
Another said: “No damage control can undo the embarrassment here. Even if he’s your best buddy, how is such leg-pulling acceptable in 2021? How?”
Even Pakistani celebrities criticised the owners for humiliating their employee.
Rapper and comedian Ali Gul Pir said:
“We were bored so we decided to ridicule our employees who can’t speak English as we do with our fake accents.”
“Someone in Islamabad please give Awais bhai a respectable job in the service industry where he’s not ridiculed for entertainment. You can find him at Cannoli.”
Shaniera Akram was angered by the video and challenged the Pakistani restaurant owners to an “English competition”.
The video resulted in hashtag #BoycottCannoli trending on Twitter.
The restaurant issued a statement, accusing netizens of misinterpreting their banter with an employee. The statement read:
“We are saddened and appalled by the reaction of the people, how they have misconstrued our banter with a team member.
This video depicts the gup shop between us as a team and is never meant or taken in a hurtful or negative way.
“If anyone was hurt or offended we apologise, however that was never our intention.
“We are not required to prove or defend ourselves as kind employers. Our team has been with us for a decade, that should speak for itself.
“We are proud Pakistanis who love our language and our culture.”