Australia markets closed

‘Thick racism’: Harvey Norman slammed for ‘coronavirus-free’ sign

(Source: Westfield, Twitter/@theprovenance)

White goods store Harvey Norman has been criticised by social media users after an image of a sign outside an Albury store with racist implications surfaced online.

On Saturday morning, Twitter user and Victoria-based chef Michael Ryan tweeted a picture of the sign and tagged Harvey Norman’s company account, saying: “Not helping”.

“No coronavirus in our mattresses as ours are Australian made!” the sign reads.

At the time of writing, the tweet has already been tweeted more than 30 times and garnered more than 50 likes.

Social media users were swift to condemn the sign, with one user replying, “No- but amply padded with thick racism”.

More than one user said it was another reason not to shop at Harvey Norman, while Chris Quirk simply tweeted: “What the f**k.”

Harvey Norman takes down sign

Just 10 minutes after Ryan posted the tweet, Harvey Norman tweeted back, asking Ryan which store the sign was located at.

The sign has since been taken down, according to a tweet from the furniture store’s account.

However, this wasn’t enough to stem outrage from social media users, who continued to criticise Harvey Norman for the sign.

“Racism and misinformation is not okay,” tweeted David Springbett.

Other users said that Harvey Norman had lost their patronage.

Yahoo Finance has reached out to Harvey Norman for comment.

Xenophobia on the rise

Since the global outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus which has now killed more than 720 people, Asian-Australians have reported facing higher levels of hostility.

A 27-year-old woman with Chinese-Malaysian heritage said she didn’t feel safe in public anymore following an incident on a Melbourne tram.

"I was sitting on the tram when a white man came and sat next to me.  He started talking about how Chinese people are spreading the coronavirus everywhere,” the woman told SBS News.

“I told him it wasn’t race-specific, and he kept insisting he was just saying what he had read and seen on the news.

“Public spaces are already fraught for me as an Asian woman, I don’t navigate these spaces feeling entirely comfortable or safe and this incident has exacerbated that feeling."

Earlier this week, Melbourne promotional company Mr Chan’s was forced to apologise and cancel an event after it advertised a ‘Corona Chinese New Year Special’, and said customers could buy a Corona beer for $8, get a free face mask, and buy ‘Happy Ending’ cocktails, ABC reported.

The event was set to be hosted at Melbourne nightclub Pawn & Co, which pulled the event from social media pages and also apologised.

Make your money work with Yahoo Finance’s daily newsletter. Sign up here and stay on top of the latest money, property and tech news.