Prior to an apology from the store's owner Ben Page-Phillips, the Campaign Against Antisemitism received a complaint from a highly offended patron of the store who tragically lost his family during the Nazi regime. The poor individual had been very disturbed upon noticing the swastika emblem, a concern which was cruelly dismissed by the store's manager.
The customer went on to describe the troubling moment, recalling:
"I entered the coffee shop Nin Com Soup in Old Street Tube Station to get a drink. In their fridge they had various smoothies, each with a big number on them to differentiate the flavours. One drink didn't have a number but a large swastika, and the label said it was called ‘Nutzy'.
I went to the staff at the counter to discuss this and they called their manager. He explained that it was an inverted swastika which was a Hindu symbol of health and prosperity, which is indeed right but the swastika was not inverted, and the Hindu sign includes dots within the symbol. When I asked about the name of the drink, he said it was a play on ‘having the nuts', meaning ‘having the courage' and was a pun as the drink contains nuts.
I told him how offensive that was for certain people. He asked why I would find that so offensive, to which I responded that I lost my family to the Nazi regime and that despite the Hindu use of the symbol, this along with the name of the drink was extremely offensive. He said that London is a free city.
I left the shop almost in tears and shivering as it proved to me how much antisemitism and fascism is still utterly present. That man had no shame whatsoever to tell me that I should not be offended by what I saw, when the use of the swastika and the name of that drink is clearly not a coincidence."
So horrifying. Anti-Semitism has no place in a city, "free" or not!
As for the owner's response to the controversy, he has fired the "rogue" employee and is taking full responsibility for everything. Apparently Mr. Page-Phillips runs a pretty laissez-faire company which allows its employees to make a majority of creative decisions, a model he may reconsider going forward.
"I gave our now 'ex' juicer, the freedom to develop our juice position, and although only with us a few months, he had proved himself a very capable and creative addition to the shop. I cannot tell you what was going through his mind when he created the label. Without doubt it was a gross misjudgment of epic proportions, but I did get to know him well enough to be sure that he does not have a single ounce of malicious intent towards anyone. I am Nincomsoup, I am ultimately responsible, and I feel sick to the core. It's unpleasant unearthing so much hate and anger in the world when you're trying to make a difference. If only all this energy could be harnessed and channelled to make a better world. It's sad that in today's society we are so quick to condemn, judge and persecute."
Well, at least the owner is making his position clear… it's the least he can do.
You can read the full statement from Nincomsoup HEREand the customer's entire complaintHERE.