A Melbourne convenience store owner has been accused of racism for putting up a sign in his window, banning black teenagers from his store.
The move caused a social media uproar when a photo of the sign was posted online.
The sign said that “14-18 year old blacks and dogs” were banned from entering the convenience store “because the 14-18 year old black[s] always steal”.
While the sign brought condemnation of the store owner’s actions, some social media users appeared to support the owner, responding on Twitter with tweets such as “Don’t blame them at all,” (in reference to the store owner), and another writing that the sign was “fair enough”.
The shop owner said that he was forced to put the sign up after dealing with many shoplifting incidents over the course of two years.
He said that shoplifting had taken place a lot within his store.
“Always black person… young boy, after playing soccer,” he said.
However, it was an impulsive reaction to a confrontation on Friday morning that caused him to act.
CCTV footage was released on Friday from the store’s security cameras showed at least nine youths entering the store and appearing to shoplift and intimidate the owner.
The footage showed the youths dispersing within the store while the owner could be heard demanding that they leave their bags at the front of the shop, his instruction was ignored.
Despite requests to leave, the youths instead appeared to stuff goods into their pockets while smiling and laughing at the owner.
The owner then confronted them with a golf club and they left the store, taking more of the store’s goods.
A spokesperson for the Victorian Police said the message on the sign was “inappropriate”.
“We do not support the language of the poster,” they said.
The sign has since been taken down.