Save our jobs‚ beg staff at Adam Catzavelos’s food company
The staff at beach racist Adam Catzavelos’s food company have begged deserting customers not to leave them jobless.
A statement issued on Friday on behalf of St George’s Fine Foods employees said Catzavelos’s use of the k-word in a viral video was “not consonant with what [the company] stands for”.
Numerous customers have said they will stop doing business with the Johannesburg company‚ which fired Catzavelos and removed him from its board after the video emerged on Tuesday.
The staff statement‚ issued by Johannesburg law firm Clifford Levin Incorporated‚ said: “We‚ and our families‚ are financially dependent on St George’s Fine Foods and a number of us would be desolate without our positions within the company. A large number of us are the sole breadwinners of our families.”
Earlier on Friday‚ Catzavelos apologised or the damage his video caused the country. He said he had been thoughtless and insensitive.
“I have watched my video and feel total shame. It is hard to put into words what I want to say and genuinely apologise‚” he said in a statement.
“I don’t expect people to forgive me‚ but will spend the rest of my life repenting and trying to make up for my total lack of respect and judgment.”
The employees of Catzavelos’s father‚ George‚ and brother‚ Nick‚ said they were issuing their statement “freely and voluntarily ... without any outside influence or interference”.
The law firm said it had confirmed the statement “reflects their respective independent views on the matter”.
It said: “We the employees of St George’s Fine Foods ... condemn the actions of Mr Adam Catzavelos and distance ourselves from the utterances made in the widely distributed video.
“The racial utterances made by Adam Catzavelos are not present within the workplace‚ and are not consonant with what St George’s Fine Foods stands for.
“We are a diverse group comprised of different cultures‚ races and backgrounds who are all treated equally and with respect and dignity in the workplace.
“At this juncture we wish to point out that Nick and George Catzavelos have always treated us like family‚ regardless of race‚ and assisted us through financially trying times.
"On numerous occasions both Nick and George Catzavelos have provided us with loans to aid us in financially difficult times‚ without the obligation to pay it back with interest.
“We have never found Nick or George Catzavelos to be racist in any manner‚ nor have we been made to feel different‚ degraded or uncomfortable as a result of the colour of our skin.
“To this extent we have often regarded George Catzavelos as a fatherly figure and Nick Catzavelos as a brother‚ within the business. We have always felt that we are equals.
“We‚ and our families‚ are financially dependent on St George’s Fine Foods and a number of us would be desolate without our positions within the company. A large number of us are the sole breadwinners of our families and it would be unfair if George‚ Nick and ourselves suffer as a result of the actions of Adam Catzavelos.
“Other staff members‚ although able to obtain alternative employment‚ wish to remain in the employ of Nick and George Catzavelos as a result of how the business is run and the family nature thereof.
“We therefore plead‚ not as management but as employees of the company‚ that organisations continue to do business with St George’s Fine Foods not simply for the success of the organisation‚ but rather for the needs of ourselves and our families who will suffer due to the action of a now ex-employee.
“We believe that the organisation could move forward successfully without Adam Catzavelos as we are predominantly long-serving employees that treat each other with respect and dignity.
“In closing‚ we submit that it would be a great shame to let a business such as St George Fine Foods close down due to the actions of a single man. It is not only Adam Catzavelos that will suffer but rather every single employee who has grown to love and cherish their positions within the organisation.”