Three customers at a Tim Hortons cafe in the borough of Ville St-Laurent have complained that they were racially profiled and kicked out, along with several others — all of whom were “Arab-looking”.
Some of them talked to CJAD reporter Shuyee Lee about the incident at the end of October — one, an IT manager, says he was just going about his business, checking some emails, when the owner came up and ordered him to leave. The same happened to two students, and four others, including a woman in a veil.
And who wasn’t asked to leave? Well, all the customers who didn’t appear to be of Arabic descent. But they all watched the scene unfold, which one of the men describes to CJAD as humiliating.
“Some people looked shocked but others, I don't know what they think: I'm a criminal, I'm a robber, I'm a terrorist, I don't know. This is humiliation.“
Since it was the owner who allegedly did the deed, there’s really no excuse for this — St-Laurent is a multicultural neighbourhood, and it can’t be written off as some teen employee exercising bad judgment. It’s also a horrible example to set for the owner’s employees.
One of men involved suggested that the incident could be partly the result of the Trump effect — basically, that the election of Donald Trump in the USA on (amongst other things) a platform of suspicion towards Muslims (who are often, and inaccurately conflated with people of Arab descent) has emboldened people to act on their prejudices.
Oh, and this isn’t the first time recently that a Montreal-area Tim Hortons has been accused of pulling this kind of behaviour.
Unfortunately CJAD haven’t named the men involved or specified the exact Tim Hortons location, but Eater has reached out to Tim Hortons for comments and details.