Adam Catzavelos racist remarks continue to reverberate around his Family’s business interest, the latest being the closure of The Smokehouse and Grill restaurant in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, where he has a minority interest. The experience adds into a growing pile of cases showing that businesses can be punished for ethical value reasons.
The restaurant was forced to close down permanently after members of the Economic Freedom Fighters invaded the restaurant in protest action on the 6th of September. This comes after another Catzavelos family business, St George’s Fine Foods, was hit by the saga. Many of its clients, mainly restaurants have withdrawn their business in an attempt to disassociate themselves from Adam Catzavelos racist remarks.
The restaurant which employed about 30 people had shut down temporarily after Catzavelos racist remarks went viral on social media in August. It tried to reopen when it was invaded by members of the EFF.
The restaurant’s co-owner released a statement saying “In closing: We reiterate our position regarding racism and discrimination. The Smokehouse and Grill rejects racism and discrimination — in all its forms. It is important there is no doubt about what we stand for – and what we stand against.”
The statement added that it was unfortunate that the operation had to shut down even though it tried to distance itself from Catzavelos. The statement noted that the EFF occupation threatened The Smokehouse and Grill staff members.
It also noted that Adam Catzavelos was fired from the family business, with immediate effect, on August 21. “Trading at the restaurant since the racism scandal has, understandably, been slow and, as a result, the restaurant began operating at an unsustainable loss. The threats to our staff and the disruption to customers from the EFF compounded the reputational damage at the operation, which has resulted in its closure.
“As such, 29 people have lost their jobs, as well as the option to participate in an employee share ownership trust we had been investigating for the 25% stake formerly held by Adam Catzavelos.”