The Darwin branch of a national trampoline company has been forced to defend itself after a former owner unleashed a racist tirade against Aboriginal people recently in a series of social media posts.
Former owner Brent Grundy was instrumental in developing and launching franchises of Flip Out Trampoline Arena all over Australia, but has now been caught out posting racist remarks in response to an SBS article about Australia's own Black Lives Matter movement.
Screenshots of Mr Grundy's posts - made under the account name Brent James - were quickly shared to the Facebook group, Aboriginal Lives Matter #AboriginalLivesMatter and have since been shared widely online.
“You think it’s ok for this rubbish to just keep on going? When will it ever stop. Fact is if we didn’t educate them then they would still be chasing their next meal naked throwing sticks and rocks. Tell me I’m wrong,” Mr Grundy wrote in one comment.
“Vilonce [sic] against them (emoji).... They rob us, steal, cheat and scam our system because they lived here for 40,000 years and never once in that time did they evolve. Small brains chanting we want more,” another said.
Following calls to boycott the business, Flip Out’s Darwin branch responded with a post of its own condemning Mr Grundy's social media comments.
New owners, Steve and Sue Stone, have since sought legal advice against Mr Grundy.
“Mr Grundy's comments in no way align with Flip Out Australia's values. His comments are racist, damaging and ill-informed,” a statement from the current operators said.
“Flip Out Australia strongly supports the Black Lives Matter movement in Australia and globally.
“As an inclusive business, we employ people from all backgrounds and our centres are open to everyone to come and enjoy themselves in a safe, friendly environment free from discrimination.”
In the second half of the post, Aboriginal woman and franchise manager Ashley Griffiths backed up the statement with her own words.
“As an Aboriginal female I would like to strongly state that I am proud of my culture and where I came from. I am of Warumungu and Yawuru tribes and wear my culture strongly on my heart and will not tolerate racism within Flip Out Darwin,” she wrote.
“The owner Steve Stone has a multicultural staff, that is currently consisting of more than 6 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers. We are proud to work at Flip Out Darwin and in saying this, the business has never been better with our multicultural backgrounds working together.”
The post was accompanied by a ‘No Room For Racism’ graphic and several supportive comments of the business.
Mr Grundy is also the owner of Wow Box in Penrith, New South Wales - an indoor laser skirmish and entertainment park.
In response to NITV News' request for comment, Mr Grundy was deeply apologetic, and reiterated that he no longer was associated with Flip Out.
"I am deeply sorry for the hurt I have caused and will endeavour to do whatever I can going forward to affect positive change and stop others from making such misguided judgements. It is unacceptable for anybody to behave in such a way and I apologise profusely," he said.
"I was recently provoked and angered by some personal incidents, and I lashed out without thinking and said things I didn’t mean... There is absolutely no excuse for it, and I am genuinely sorry for upsetting and offending the community.
"I have Indigenous friends and family, and have given back to disadvantaged communities all over the world. This was out of character for me, and I can only hope that the community can understand."