On Thursday 8 October 10 former employees of Happy Maki released a joint statement detailing their collective resignations due to the actions of owner Anna MacDonald.
“In the past week, 10 staff members from the Happy Maki Brighton store, have quit over the Happy Maki owner, Anna Macdonald’s transphobic beliefs, which she openly expressed in an email to a trans individual who approached the company asking for support with surgery. Happy Maki’s owner also has biphobic beliefs, which she had voiced to staff,” the statement read.
The statement which can BE READ IN FULL HERE includes reported email correspondence with MacDonald in which she states.
“I’m afraid I can’t help you out with this fundraising as it (transition surgery) is not inline with my beliefs/ what I feel would help people the most who are in your position … From the research I have done, I believe the gender dysphoria is due to spirits and spirit over-cloaking. I didn’t believe in spirits until recently so I get that it probably a bit out there but I have been shocked and a bit scared about what I have read and how easy it is for them to control and manipulate people’s thoughts and feelings.”
Following this communication and the raising of concerns by staff a meeting (mediated by an assistant manager) was held between MacDonald and those involved.
The ex-employees claim that no suitable conclusion was reached from this.
“Free speech was used to exempt her beliefs and accused staff of faith discrimination. The owner has a pattern of gaslighting staff, saying they are aggressive when they raise genuine concerns in the work environment. These beliefs come from her involvement in the organisation, The Divine Truth, which you can research more on via this link: https://www.divinetruth.com.”
“Since the meeting, through an email to the trans individual and a private video to staff, the owner has made it clear that she still holds the same beliefs, further denied claims of transphobia and biphobia, and has taken no accountability for her harmful remarks and actions,” the statement reads.
“The owner gave her staff under 21 hours to decide whether or not they’d like to continue working for the company, and make it clear that no response within that timeframe would result in their dismissal of employment with Happy Maki. She gave staff three options: to continue working, to stop working immediately and breach their contract, or to stop working after a four week notice period. She didn’t give the same urgency to address her transphobic comments as she did with expecting her staff to make decisions that impact their social security. The owner still hasn’t responded to the individual’s email, which was sent five days ago asking how she would take accountability and learn and grow from the situation.”
The statement alleges further issues with management regarding holiday, sick pay, and contract issues. Details of these are not shared.
The collective state that they wish to engage MacDonald in discussion regarding her actions, and the reasoning behind them.
“It wouldn’t feel effective to have Happy Maki or the owner be ‘cancelled’. It would be for the best if she can learn and understand why it was a transphobic, damaging thing to say.“We ask Anna MacDonald to take accountability and responsibility for her transphobic and biphobic actions.”
At time of publication MacDonald has not responded to these allegations and has shut down both the Happy Maki Facebook and Instagram profiles. It’s website and Twitter accounts remain live.