Consider it a lesson in social media decorum.
The very public face of a Queensland, Australia-based coffee roastery that has grown into a multimillion-dollar business over the past 12 years is apologizing following a rapid series of crude remarks posted on his private Facebook account.
Phillip Di Bella, who has a long history of successful entrepreneurship, civic engagement and corporate responsibility as the head of Di Bella Coffee, totally lost his cool during a rugby match on June 18, spouting off profanity-filled comments aimed at announcers and referees as he was watching in his home. Among the offending remarks — some of which are almost unintelligible — were:
“F$#% off you @#$%sucker commentators!! Stand up and give yourself a head job and the refs!!!”
“Gould and Johns must give it to each other so hard in the sheds!!!” (referring to the announcers)
“F@$# off you corrupt ref knock on even strive wonder spotted that!! You THIEVES.”
A day later, Di Bella stripped the posts and gave the following message: “To my wonderful Facebook followers (sic) I must apologise for last nights (sic) outburst of comments and language during the state of origin… I completely understand it may have offended some people!!”
Most remarkable about Di Bella’s outburst was his timing, coming just hours after the Lord Mayor of Brisbane announced him as a key advisor to a new economic development committee, and a day after Di Bella Coffee was honored as the Queensland Business of the Year at the Telsla Australian Business Awards. During that ceremony, Di Bella was celebrated as a model of community leadership. From the Australian Business Awards:
His passion for Brisbane and business success has seen him named Corporate Citizen of the Year in the 2014 Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Awards, appointed a director of Brisbane Marketing, chair of the Queen Street Mall Advisory Board, and a board member of Tourism and Events Queensland.
Di Bella has since been stripped of the award after the program’s director, David Thodey, tweeted:
Disappointing and inappropriate comments from Telstra Bus Award winner in Qld, not consistent with our values and we don’t support.
— David Thodey (@davidthodey) June 25, 2014
In a company announcement yesterday, Di Bella Coffee replied:
Di Bella Coffee is disappointed to learn today that Telstra CEO David Thodey has stripped Di Bella Coffee of the Queensland Business of the Year award.Di Bella Coffee and our staff have worked extremely hard over the years to establish a successful local business and we pride ourselves on exceptional customer service.
Phillip Di Bella’s vision, along with our committed team, has been the driving force of our business success, which has led to winning many other awards including most recently the Telstra Queensland Business of the Year award.
The comments made by Phillip Di Bella in no way represent the views or business practices of Di Bella Coffee and we do not support any comments that were made on his personal social media accounts last week.
Phillip has issued a personal apology to the Di Bella Coffee Team. Di Bella Coffee would also like to apologise to our hardworking and dedicated staff. While Telstra has stripped us of our award, we would like to take this opportunity to tell you that your hard work and success over the years has not gone unnoticed.