The owner of a Hamilton CBD takeaway shop has unexpectedly conceded he's a racist after coming under fire for refusing to hire Indians and insulting customers who left bad reviews.
Girish Kuruvilla owns Refuel Jo, a late-night burger joint that prides itself on being open until 4am for "food and party".
But he won't employ Indians there - despite being of Indian ethnicity himself - because it's "a New Zealand shop" and he wants to give job opportunities to Kiwis.
Kuruvilla complains Indians use sob stories to try and get hired.
"They tell us... 'please, my parents are sick and I'm trying to stay here in this country' and all that rubbish. I'm sorry, I don't sell Indian food."
He also claims Indians "slack off".
"Indians want me to sign immigration documents and all that bullshit… Kiwis work hard, do their job, come back the next day. I'm happy as employing Kiwis."
Under the Human Rights Act 1993, it's illegal for an employer to discriminate against job applicants based on colour, race or ethnic origins. But when Newshub suggested Refuel Jo's policy of refusing to hire Indians might be against the law, Kuruvilla just laughed.
He later admitted to being racist.
"I am a racist… I'm actually very sorry to say I am 500 percent racist," he said, going on to brag about the free 'marketing' he'd receive if Newshub published his comments.
Of the 93 reviews left for Refuel Jo on Google at the time of publishing, 40 were one-star. Complaints range from bad food quality, to rude staff, to poor value for money.
Kuruvilla has replied to every single one-star review. In some responses, he accuses the reviewers of being an "Indian looser (sic)", "lessor Indian (sic)" or "sidekick to an Indian".
In others he mocks them over their immigration status or for not being able to afford Refuel Jo's food.
Asked about his hostile responses to negative reviews, Kuruvilla told Newshub: "I can do what I like, at the end of the day."
"The basic thing is if you attack me, I'll attack you back."
He believes the negative reviews have come from members of the Indian community who are angry with him because he refuses to hire them at Refuel Jo.
In one review he claims he'd been threatened by the Indian Association because of the policy, though when asked which Indian Association he said he wasn't sure.
The Waikato Indian Association told Newshub it had never had anything to do with him.
But it's not just Indians Kuruvilla takes aim at in the responses. In other replies, he appears to mock an Asian customer who complained they'd been double-charged.
"Chin cho chu lost his father's din dong," Kuruvilla responded. "Anyone who lost his money will be back. See u soon ding dong. By the way let ur mate know his tats are ugly and I wont even put that on my cat."
In another response, Kuruvilla laughs that the reviewer is an "Asian married to [an] Indian, mail order bride".
Asked why he was making fun of Asian customers, Kuruvilla said: "You wouldn't believe what I go through. Do you want to come and put my shoes on?"
While the Human Rights Commission wouldn't comment on the specific case, a spokesperson told Newshub people should be aware racist remarks could put them in trouble with the law.
"Words which are threatening, abusive, or insulting and that are likely to incite hostility against or bring into contempt any group on the grounds of colour, race, or ethnicity may breach the Human Rights Act," they said.
"Anyone who is concerned about such language can contact the Human Rights Commission for information, including on how to make a complaint."