A café owner from Melbourne’s South-east announced he would be removing his “tongue in cheek” sign that said Daniel Andrews’ supporters would be charged extra for coffees after he received a wave of abuse and threats.
Acrobar co-owner Franz Madlener told Today that police visited the business on Wednesday night and “strongly suggested” he remove his sign as it was inciting anger.
Mr Madlener added he felt forced to hire security guards after people threatened to throw rocks at the business because of the sign.
The café owner had the sign on the counter for three weeks before it received criticism after going viral on social media on Wednesday.
“Initially it was fine, we had about 30 people see the humour in it and put $1 into the tip jar,” the café owner told hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon.
“But in the last 24 hours, I guess since this sign’s gone viral, the level of abuse and vile anger and personal attacks on the business, me and the staff yesterday, was completely over the top.”
Mr Madlener said they received a call that threatened to have their windows smashed with rocks and spray paint, just as it had been done to Premier’s office.
He said the police’s grave warning encouraged him to remove the “light-hearted” sign.
“If you’ve had the police ask you to take the sign away, of course,” Mr Madlener said.
“My main concern is for our staff, to keep the staff safe. We don’t want people coming in and using that to create more anger against the staff.
“Up until now we’ve been fighting lockdown and now we’re fighting these absolute extremists out there full of absolute hate towards the business.”
The café owner says the sign was not meant to be political but instead was supposed to be a “light-hearted” protest to counter comments about how they should feel grateful and lucky about the government lifting strict COVID-19 restrictions.
This article originally appeared on Over60.