The owners of the Islamabad-based restaurant Cannoli Café Soul have issued a non-apologetic statement in response to the backlash they received for a viral video depicting them demeaning their manager’s English-speaking skills. Interestingly, while the restaurant stands by its actions, other restaurants have issued clarifications distancing themselves from the Islamabad eatery.
The now deleted-video posted on the restaurant’s social media showed its owners, Uzma Chaudhry and Dia Haider, asking their manager to speak in English, and then laughing at his response. The video generated immense notoriety for the restaurant, resulting in “#BoycottCannoli” taking the number one trending slot on Twitter for most of Thursday. However, the restaurant owners were “appalled” by the negative reaction to the video.
“We are saddened and appalled by the reaction of the people, how they have misconstrued our banter with a team member,” said a statement released by the restaurant on Instagram.
“This video depicts the gup shup between us as a team, and is never meant or taken in a hurtful or negative way. If anyone was hurt or offended we apologise, however that was never our intention.”
The statement remained firm in its stance, asserting that the owners “are not required to prove or defend [them]selves as kind employers.”
Addressing allegations of “fluent English elitism” levied against them, the owners also stated that they are proud Pakistanis who love their language and culture.
While Cannoli Café Soul refrained from expressing regret over its actions, other restaurants were quick to distance themselves from the defamed eatery.
Cannoli Lahore, a franchise of the Islamabad restaurant, first issued a clarification on its Instagram page, saying: “We are not at all linked with that video, and don’t agree with what is shown in that video and condemn it along with you.”
In a more detailed post, Cannoli Lahore issued an official statement, in both English and Urdu, saying that it “wholeheartedly condemns the video recorded by Cannoli Islamabad’s owners.”
Similarly, Café Sol in Islamabad shared a light-hearted post on its Instagram page, clarifying that Café Sol and Cannoli Café Soul are two separate establishments. In the post caption, it stressed that the “disrespectful video” circulating online did not depict Café Sol.
“We’re being review-bombed by people mistaking us for a different cafe. Please make sure you’ve got the right place,” it said.