McDonald’s has fired the owner of two of its restaurants in Victoria after he was filmed in an alleged racialised verbal attack on an Aboriginal family that went viral on Twitter.
Robert Vigors, who owned McDonald’s in Mildura and Irymple, was filmed in a confrontation at a family home in Mildura that was posted on Twitter by a family member.
In the video, a woman identified as “Karen” made a furious but failed attempt to pull down an Aboriginal flag, before saying “get this shit down”.
Robby Wirramanda, the artist and Wergaia man behind the camera, shouted: “It’s too strong for you Karen”, which led to the hashtag #toostrongforyoukaren trending on Twitter on Sunday.
“You’re a racist pig,” said Wirramanda, to which Karen replied, “I’m not racist mate.”
In the video, an irate Vigors pointed to the camera and said: “Which 1% of you is Aboriginal, mate? You’ve got nothing in you that’s Aboriginal.”
While Vigors said in the video he “respected” the artwork Wirramanda was producing, he said he had “a lot of Aboriginal friends in Far North Queensland” that would “love to come and give you a lecture”.
As Wirramanda suggested to Vigors the video will “go viral”, Vigors responded: “Let it go viral, because people like you make a mockery of true Aboriginals.”
The video ended with Wirramanda repeatedly saying “goodnight Karen” the woman responded: “Go and live in your fucking humpy down the river.”
In a statement, the fast-food chain said: “McDonald’s confirms the company has taken over the operation of the Mildura and Irymple restaurants, effective immediately, and Robert Vigors has left the system and is no longer involved.
“McDonald’s will be engaging with its employees regarding the change in arrangements, to ensure the ongoing operation of the restaurants.”
Wirramanda, 46, told Guardian Australia he had been in his art studio at his home on Friday evening while his wife, Jackie, was painting.
His two sons Jackson, 19, and Grayson, 12, were also in the studio, along with a 12-year-old cousin.
In an earlier statement, McDonald’s had described the comments in the video as “unacceptable”, saying they “do not reflect the beliefs of the company as an inclusive workplace for our employees and customers.”
Guardian Australia understands McDonald’s contacted Vigors on Sunday morning to inform him the company was taking back ownership of the two restaurants.
Olympian and former senator Nova Peris was damning of the actions of the the pair on Twitter in several posts.
Guardian Australia could not reach Rob Vigors and the woman identified in the video as Karen for comment. On Sunday Karen told Daily Mail Australia that she had received death threats since the video went viral on social media and did not feel safe giving her side of the story.