According to the Whytes, they were served ice cream containing human faeces at the hotel’s brasserie on October 5.
When they attempted to complain, they were treated with disdain by the hotel’s management – but the Whytes refused to be ignored, obtaining a lab sample to prove their suspicions.
Still general manager Tony Williams reacted with contempt, heaping insults on the Whytes in a letter suggesting they were motivated by malice or greed.
While suggesting the hotel may itself be a victim of “industrial sabotage” and promising to investigate, Mr Williams wrote:
“The average person might well consider that a request for payment of a sum of money in the range from $100,000 to $1 million to keep quiet and not inform the media is bordering on extortion.”
That is a wilful misinterpretation of the Whytes’ intentions.
As Mr Williams himself acknowledged in the same letter, the Whytes never demanded a payment of any kind – they merely observed that publicity about this incident could cause the pub a huge amount in lost business – somewhere between $100,000 to $1 million at a rough guess.
It was grossly unfair of Mr Williams to portray that remark as extortion.
This family never wanted money. They wanted contrition – and respect.
The great irony is that the Whytes are exactly the sort of clients the Coogee Bay Hotel claims it wants to attract.
For years it has been a notorious “blood house”, named by police as the State’s second-worst pub for assaults and infamous for its unpleasant, violent atmosphere.
Finally, it seemed the hotel was trying to clean itself up: banning the Bra Boys surf gang, tightening security, serving free bottled water at midnight, renovating its premises and saturating radio airwaves with ads about its family- and female-friendly new image.
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