Sydney ‘Hospitality Gurus’ Reckon Young Casual Workers Are “Whining” And “Self Entitled”

"Entitled" is an odd word for 'group of workers disproportionately impacted mentally, physically, and financially by a global pandemic.

Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham, owners of the Lansdowne and Unicorn hotels and the popular Mary’s venues in Sydney, took an opportunity to call young casual workers “whining” and “self-entitled,” in a recent episode of their podcast The Fat.

As first reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, this week Smyth and Graham took to their podcast, The Fat (yes, The Fat) to take a massive dump on young casual workers — completely lacking in empathy for one a group of Australia’s workforce utterly devastated by the pandemic.

Smyth acknowledged on the podcast that while most of his company’s employees were “hard-working beasts”, he still considered some “self-entitled little f—s”. Online response took umbrage to the terms used in the podcast, reported in the SMH.

In response, Smyth and Graham released the following statement:

“To the vast majority of staff, present and past, we want to make it clear that the comments made in the Podcast and in the article in the SMH were not intended or directed at you individually or as a whole.They were aimed at a collection of stories and comments that we hear on a weekly basis from our staff, managers, chefs & other restaurant owners about a tiny minority of people across multiple industries.

To be clear, you are the reason that Mary’s has come to be what it is. Its strength is you, its purpose is you, and we love you all deeply. There are some of you who agree with our comments, there are others who have been deeply hurt by them. To those who agree, thank you for the support and kindness over the past few hours. To those hurt, we apologise for what has been framed to be a public shaming. This is not what was intended. Your passion, dedication and sweat has been the cornerstone of Mary’s success and we are beyond grateful for your energy, grit and determination in a tough and unforgiving industry. For those of you that feel that Mary’s is not doing their utmost to provide a supportive environment within which you can thrive and flourish — we invite you to continue to engage with us to improve this, our beloved industry.”

According to the ABC, up to 60 percent of jobs had been lost across hospitality industries (including the accommodation industry they own a portion of) — and the sector could take five years to recover to pre-corona levels.

Not only has this year seen a lot of casual hospitality workers lose their jobs, or have their hours reduced, but many were not eligible for COVID-19 welfare, owing to their status as temporary or casual workers.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1-in-3 workers between the ages of 18-24 lost their jobs this year, and about half of those who kept their jobs had their hours significantly cut. Almost a quarter of young people also reported high levels of mental stress this year too, compared to 9% in 2017.

But according to Jake Smyth, speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, “It’s just this slippery slope of scapegoating your own mental health responsibilities…It shows up in poor work ethic, lateness, too much drinking, poor performance at work in general.”

I don’t know about Mr Graham and Mr Smyth, but I think “entitled”, “whining” and “lazy” are a funny choice of words for ‘group of workers disproportionately impacted mentally, physically and financially by a global pandemic that cost many of them their livelihoods.’

Feature image courtesy of Instagram/marysgetfat