Yukon pizzeria faces heat over ‘male in the kitchen’ social-media posting

Even after an apology was issued, a Yukon eatery is in spotlight for sexism. Photo: facebook
Even after an apology was issued, a Yukon eatery is in the spotlight for sexism. Photo: facebook

Stephanie Waddell, Whitehorse Star, The Canadian Press

WHITEHORSE - The owners of a Yukon pizzeria are facing more than a little bit of heat outside of their kitchen over an employment posting on social media.

The posting on Tony’s Pizza Facebook page — which has since been taken down — originally stated that it was looking for a pizza chef at its Whitehorse restaurant.

But when a woman posted her own response that she had already applied, the restaurant replied: “I would prefer to have a male in the kitchen, less distraction for the other male employees.”

The statement generated several Facebook posts, prompting an apology from the restaurant’s owners.

“Sometimes people do or say things that hurt or offend other people,” stated the post from Tony’s Pizza. “It happens to everyone. I sincerely apologize for my actions. I have endeavoured to rectify this situation to the best of my ability.”

Tony’s co-owner Kathleen Lundgaard said in an interview that if she could take it back she would.

“People who know us know we’re not like that.”

She said the posting was an “isolated” thing.

But local resident Blake Lepine said the incident in his view was a clear case of discrimination, and he took it to the Yukon Human Rights Commission.

“It needs to be addressed,” he said.

Commission spokeswoman Heather MacFadgen said she can’t speak specifically about the issue because complaints are treated as confidential until they’ve been dealt with or go to the board of adjudication for a decision.

But she said under current legislation complaints must come from the person who believes they were discriminated against.

When asked about suggestions on social media that there should be a boycott of the restaurant, Lundgaard said customers have the choice to go elsewhere.

But she also noted that she hoped that one comment on social media wouldn’t tarnish the 13 years her family has spent building the business and its reputation.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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