cafe cannoli

The Express Tribune/Twitter

Café owners film themselves ‘humiliating’ employee over his English

'Could you please speak to everyone in English, and say a sentence?'


Eilish O'Sullivan


Posted on Jan 21, 2021

Owners of a high-end café posted an apology to Instagram after a video of them condescendingly grilling an employee over his lack of proficiency in English went viral.

In the video in question, owners of Cannoli by Cafe Soul in Pakistan were seated as customers when they questioned the manager, Awais, who has been working at the establishment for nine years.

“We own Cannoli, and we were bored, so we would like to introduce you to our team,” one of the owners says into the camera.

They introduce Awais, who is standing by their table. 

“Awais was one of our first hires when we opened Cafe Sol,” the other owner says. 

“And how many classes have you taken for English?” she asks.

Awais says he’s taken English classes for a year-and-a-half.

“So, a year-and-a-half, you’ve studied English?” one questions. “So, could you please speak to everyone in English, and say a sentence?”

“Introduce yourself,” the other adds.

Awais introduces himself.

Then, one of the women says, while laughing, “So, this is our manager, who’s been with us for nine years. This is the beautiful English he speaks.”

“This is what we paid for,” the other says. “At a very good salary, mind you,” the other adds.

According to the Express Tribune, #BoycottCannoli became a trending topic on Twitter after the video went viral.

People online are labeling the owners’ behavior as “harassment” “humiliating,” and “disgusting.”

After the backlash, Cannoli by Cafe Soul posted an apology statement to its Instagram on Thursday.

“We are saddened and appalled by the reaction of the people, how they have misconstrued our banter with a team member. This video depicts the gup shup between us as a team, and is never meant or taken in a hurtful or negative way,” the statement read.

“If anyone was hurt or offended we apologize, however that was never our intention. We are not required to prove or defend ourselves as kind employers. Our team has been with us for a decade, that should speak for itself. We are proud Pakistanis who love our language and our culture,” it continued.

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*First Published: Jan 21, 2021, 8:17 pm CST