Singapore—Australian entrepreneur Lance Giles, who was in Singapore this week for the Global Restaurant Leadership Conference at Marina Bay Sands, has issued an apology for two videos that contained racist slurs that had been uploaded to his partner’s Instagram account but were taken down after considerable backlash.
Mr Giles is the founder and chief executive of Youfoodz, a meal delivery service that touts itself as “Australia’s Fresh Meal Company.” He started the company, now worth S$234 million, in 2012.
In the videos, which can still be viewed on YouTube, Mr Giles’ partner, model and actress Jordana Stott, can be heard mocking an Asian couple in a restaurant, and a group of Asian women in a swimming pool who were having a photo taken together. The videos were posted on Ms Stott’s Instagram page, Film Fashion Wine.
As the Asian couple watches a video of origami on a mobile phone, Ms Stott says in an Asian-sounding accent, “F****** origami mate, f****** origami.”
In the video of the women in the pool, Ms Stott uses the same accent to say, “Get it c***, f***ing get the photo, oh f***ing yeah, shi-shing!”
A man’s voice is heard in the background echoing Ms Stott. And while the identification of the man speaking is unknown, many believe that it’s Mr Giles who is making the remarks.
Mr Giles said in a statement published by The Daily Mail: “Watching this back makes us feel pretty lousy. What we thought was light-hearted is unpleasant and not funny.
Jordana and I would like to assure everyone that this isolated incident does not portray the way we feel or act on a day-to-day basis. We deeply apologise for any offence this misjudgment has caused.”
The Instagram videos were greeted with condemnation both in Australia and Singapore, with netizens commenting on the irony that Mr Giles, who had been in the country to speak at a global leadership conference, displayed such appalling behavior.
Netizen Raj Singh uploaded a video which he captioned,
“Global Restaurant LEADERSHIP Conference held in Singapore
Organiser brought in a speaker called Lance Giles and his girlfriend Jordana Stott
They went around taking videos of Asians and making racial slurs, then uploaded them on instagram.
Do we need to leadership knowledge from such people?
Couldn’t the organiser do a better job?
Why do we accept such people?
Many Australians themselves have called them out.
Woolworths may also take some action.”
The Daily Mail quotes another commenter as saying, “It’s horrible that a brand that promotes wellness and togetherness through their campaigns and promotions can be so insensitive to other cultures, considering they employ a lot of workers of Asian descent too.”
Retail giant Woolworths, to whom Youfoodz supplies smaller items such as chocolate chip protein cookies, is now investigating the matter and has asked the company to explain the incident.
A spokesman for the company said, “As a business, we deplore racism in any form.”
Other major supermarkets in Australia, such as Coles and IGA , also carry Youfoodz products./ TISG