Turns out, it's probably not the best of ideas for a butcher to loudly notify his customers that eating his bacon will ensure they don't become suicide bombers. Unless, that is, you are totally fine with having to halfheartedly apologize, all the while filling your pockets to the brim with money.
Australian butcher Jeff Rapley is facing a backlash after an image of a sign he posted on his storefront went viral. The sign in question informs passersby that his bacon has the miraculous properties to ensure that those who eat it will never run the risk of suddenly transforming into a bona fide suicide bomber. The now infamous sign reads as follows:
"Eating two strips of Rapley's award winning bacon for breakfast reduces your chance of being a suicide bomber by 100 percent."
Rapley is the owner and butcher of Rapley's Midtown Quality Meats in Narooma, New South Wales—a town of fewer than 2,500 people located several hours' drive south of Sydney. He told Narooma News: "I'm definitely not a racist." He also pointed out that no religion was actually mentioned in the sign. Rapley says when a local resident complained about the sign, he removed it, adding that the reaction had "gotten way out of hand" and that he "didn't mean any offense by it." Even after the sign was taken down, the photo was still out there and began to spread, nonetheless.
Predictions on social media that Rapley's business would suffer turned out to be dead wrong. One Twitter user wrote, "Business is only going to go downhill for them if it hasn't already." In fact, though, sales of Rapley's bacon have surged and the butcher says he is almost sold out.
A clue to these sales may lie in this posting, which appears to be no longer online but was reported by the Daily Mail, where one social media commenter professed to be clueless about the charges of racism: "I'm sorry but how is this offensive and why do Muslims have a phobia of Pork for anyway." Just for the record, religious pork prohibitions go back millennia and the meat of the pig is banned by Kashrut (Jewish) and Halal (Islamic) laws—not to mention Seventh-Day Adventists and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Others were more forthright, claiming they don't see any racism or xenophobia at all in the sign: "It is rather funny. People get so upset and fearful of jokes like this. Don't live in fear. A big bad bogan is not going to hurt you."
Sure, Rapley did end up being shamed into publicly apologizing, but it sadly seems that swelling Islamophobia has done nothing but increase the sale of his bacon. Whether or not the sign was deliberately meant to foster xenophobia is wholly irrelevant. People—even if they're a tiny minority—have indeed rewarded Rapley for his actions.