A single photo showed Aussies lining up at Bakers Delight in big numbers. Here’s what they REALLY think about calls for a boycott after founder backed Voice No campaign
Bakers Delight customers and franchisees are divided over revelations the company’s founder put his money behind the No campaign in Australia’s unsuccessful Voice to Parliament referendum last year.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that company founder Roger Gillespie was among those who financially supported the Advance Australia lobby group – one of the biggest organizations campaigning against the Voice.
Mr Gillespie told the Australian Financial Review he donated $20,000 to Advance and $14,000 to the Liberal Party in 2022 ‘because of his stance on the (Vote) referendum’.
The revelation led to several left-wing Aussies calling for a boycott – while others, such as former federal MP Craig Kelly, doubled down on their support for the chain and bought huge pastries.
Just hours later, one loyal Bakers Delight customer shared a viral photo of a busy queue outside his local store, saying: ‘What’s the opposite of “Go Woke, Go Broke?”‘.
A loyal Bakers Delight customer used a photo of a queue outside his local store as proof that Aussies support the chain
Shakinah, in her 20s, said she doesn’t plan to boycott Bakers Delight just because the founder donated to the No campaign
USA Online Post Australia took to the streets of Sydney to see how customers really feel about Mr Gillespie’s donations.
Shakinah, in her 20s, had just left a Baker’s Delight store when USA Online Post Australia informed her of the controversy.
“Oh, I didn’t know that, wow. It’s a little selfish to donate money to people who don’t support the cause.
“I feel like he should just stay out of it, like, it’s none of his business,” she said. “But I’m not going to boycott.”
Luka, in her 20s, used to work at Baker’s Delight and said the founder’s contributions to the No camp kept her from ever returning.
She did not want to photograph her face for fear of backlash.
“Baker’s Delight is such a popular place all over Australia and the fact that I didn’t even know that I was basically supporting the No campaign makes me very angry,” she said.
“I don’t want my bread to be political and I might boycott Baker’s just like I boycott Maccas because of their support for Israel.”
Luka, in her 20s, is a former Baker’s Delight employee who left the company in 2021 for an unrelated reason. She says she will never eat there again
Tim, in his 40s, said Mr Gillespie had wasted his money as the referendum was a resounding no anyway
Tim, in his 40s, said capitalism is based on people spending money wherever they want.
‘IIf people want to boycott it, that’s their choice,’ he said.
“I think people who spend money trying to stop progress, especially social progress, I find it mind boggling.
“I don’t really shop at Bakers Delight anyway, but all I can say to the founder is: what a waste of money that was.”
A Bakers Delight franchisee, who is happy to share his opinion but asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘I’m an immigrant, I grew up outside Australia and came here.
‘When the Voice referendum happened I wanted to see what the Australian public thought about it as such and it was turned down. This is the beauty of democracy.
‘But about the founder’s donations, all I can say is that I’ve been here at Bakers Delight all my life and I know the incredible things they’ve done for me.
“So I don’t have a view on it in the sense that any person can have a view, right or wrong, but I think if he has that view and if he has the courage to say it publicly, then I.’ I have a problem with that.’
Lucinda, in her 20s, felt it was sneaky that the donations were made privately
Lucinda, in her 20s, said it felt sneaky that no one knew about the donations until months after the referendum was over.
“I feel it’s inappropriate for him to get involved,” she said.
“We didn’t know until now and the matter is already said and done, so it just feels sneaky and it’s something I just don’t agree with.
“I don’t think I’ll go back, honestly.”
Kate, in her 40s, said the franchisees should not be held responsible for Mr Gillespie’s donations – and would not boycott
Kate, in her 40s, said she would not boycott Bakers Delight as it would be unfair to the franchisees of each store.
“I won’t boycott Bakers Delight because it’s a (franchise) … so I believe that each location is individually owned,” she said.
‘On the one hand I was very disappointed with the result of the referendum, so my initial reaction is to think negatively, but I think you are allowed to donate your own money politically as you see fit.
“I suppose if all the Bakers Delight owners didn’t have a group decision about it, then my patronage there is not being unfair to whoever owns that particular shop because their name has been tarnished by something beyond their control. “
Others, who wished to remain anonymous, said it was not their place to judge others
One Bakers Delight customer, who wished to remain anonymous, said she questioned the concept of the Voice after hearing the thoughts of some Aboriginal elders on the issue.
“I’m not a fan of how the Voice referendum turned out, but I’ve heard a lot of elders telling us to vote no, and that’s what I’ve heard from people who actually know Aboriginal elders, ‘ she said.
‘The founder of Bakers Delight to donate doesn’t make me happy, but I’m not going to boycott the shops. Everyone has a right to their own opinion and that’s what he wanted to do.
‘If he supports liberal stuff, then he only talks about what he likes and everyone is entitled to their opinion and they can donate in whatever way they want.
“It’s not that crazy.”
Bakers Delight founder Roger Gillespie (right) and his wife Lesley are pictured
The Indigenous Vote in Parliament was roundly defeated, losing in every state and winning only in the ACT, last October.
When it came to light that Mr. Gillespie donated tens of thousands to the No campaign, backlash erupted online and many quickly called for a boycott.
‘Bakers Delight, it turns out, isn’t delicious at all. Boycott,’ one person wrote on social media site X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Wouldn’t buy anything from Bakers Delight again,” said another.
But there was also plenty of support for Mr Gillespie and the bakery chain.
‘I will continue to support #BakersDelight, great products and sensible management,’ wrote one.
“Thank you Bakers Delight, will be sure to buy more from your stores from today!” said another.
Bakers Delight and Mr Gillespie have been approached for comment.
Craig Kelly thanked boycotters for giving this great Australian company such publicity.