Som Saa founder Andy Oliver has said they “should have acted much sooner” after an employee’s social media posts and videos provoked accusations of racism.
Chef Shaun Beagley was fired from the Thai restaurant, located in east London’s Spitalfields, last week after concerns were raised regarding social media posts under his name and username ‘Boring Thai’.
Oliver (pictured) said: “I and the team at Som Saa care passionately about being open, tolerant and welcoming of people from all backgrounds and nationalities – whether staff or customers. But, through some of my actions and Som Saa’s employment of the individual concerned, we have clearly failed to live up to that standard.
“We have previously made it clear to him that we objected to his stupid, often utterly offensive social media persona and in the end we fired him. But we should have seen it more clearly and we should have acted much earlier and for that we are both saddened and sorry.
“I would also like to personally and unreservedly apologise for commenting on one of Boring Kitchen’s cooking videos which has, quite rightly, been identified as highly offensive. I should have recognised at the time just how objectionable it was and I am now asking myself hard questions about why I didn’t.
“I apologise again to anyone I’ve offended or let down. I am determined to come out of this episode wiser and more humble.”
Taproom and deli Weino Bib said events Beagley was due to hold last week at its site were cancelled by Beagley himself “to do no damage to our business”, adding: “I truly believe that Shaun has only love for Thailand, its people and cuisine.”
Shoreditch Thai barbecue bar Smoking Goat, which had commented positively on one of Beagley’s videos last year, apologised and said: “We’re disgusted and feel horrible that we have contributed towards understandable hurt and offence… we want to make sure that our restaurant is a welcome place for everyone. We’re speaking with our teams to be completely confident that this ethos is in place throughout our organisation.”