- Gerry Harvey, billionaire co-founder of Harvey Norman, expressed how we shouldn't be afraid of the coronavirus, despite numerous deaths across the globe.
- Harvey also described the outbreak as an "opportunity" for Harvey Norman, with sales going up 9% from last year.
- Social media users have called for boycotts to Harvey Norman following the founder's comments.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
Gerry Harvey has caused something of a stir on social media.
The billionaire cofounder of retailer Harvey Norman was interviewed on a "60 Minutes" episode which aired on Sunday, where he explained his rather unfazed response to the coronavirus.
"Why are we so scared about getting this virus?" he told reporter Liam Bartlett. "It's pretty much nothing to get scared of."
When Bartlett mentioned the thousands of families particularly in Italy and China who are affected by it, Harvey replied, "But that's there, we're here. I'm 80, I should be really scared. Guess what, I'm not really scared."
Billionaire retailer Gerry Harvey reckons we should all ‘lighten up’ and not let coronavirus dictate our lives. For a section of the population, “she’ll be right” is the default position, the question is whether that mentality puts ourselves and others at greater risk. #60Mins pic.twitter.com/Q6zApNN934
— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) March 22, 2020
Harvey added that sales have increased at Harvey Norman and described the whole situation as "an opportunity".
"Now sales are up in Harvey Norman in Australia by 9% on last year," he said. "Our sales in freezers are up 300%. And what about air purifiers? Up 100%."
But social media users weren't here for Harvey's comments about the coronavirus, describing them as "ludicrous" and "irresponsible".
FFS! Gerry Harvey, an ‘opportunity’ for retail?
— Jane Shields (@jane_shields) March 22, 2020
His comments are ludicrous! What an absolute naive, ignorant human being.
I actually planned on purchasing a new printer tomorrow from @HarveyNormanAU in light of working from home. Now REFUSE to shop in Gerry Harvey’s store.
— Jayne Issa (@JayneBeveridge) March 22, 2020
— Lynda_The_Mundane (@LMildwater) March 22, 2020
How irresponsible of him and what a great way to know who not to buy from. ????
— Yvonne West (@Von_Bomb) March 22, 2020
Others were also calling for boycotts to Harvey Norman.
Vote with your feet people. We have the power. Spend your $$ at small businesses, they appreciate you and your $$.
Don't let Gerry Harvey get away with this. Don't give Harvey Norman another cent of your money.
Imagine how he treats his staff...#boycottHarveyNorman
— Andrew Peal (@andrewdpeal) March 22, 2020