On Wednesday Channel 4 News ran a hatchet job on a so-called 'hipster' cafe in London's Shoreditch which is selling imported breakfast cereals at upwards of £2.50 per bowl. Now the business owner has taken to Facebook to hit back at what he claims was a "completely unfair" attack.
The ''Cereal Killer' cafe has been pretty relentlessly mocked since its plans to sell bowls of breakfast cereal were first announced and clearly the Channel 4 News team were among those who thought it ridiculous. However, given they couldn't just run a report calling it absurd, they instead chose to challenge the cafe's owner on the issue of poverty in East London.
Channel 4 News reported:
"The business sells breakfast cereal from £2.50 a bowl, while one in every two children growing up in Tower Hamlets are living in poverty."
However you look at that statement those two things are unrelated, despite Channel 4's attempt to suggest there is a connection. Undoubtedly there is an awful divide between London's richest and poorest but laying the blame at the door of some hipsters who've been selling Cheerios for a week is more than a stretch.
In the video report the cafe owner, Gary Keery, shut down the interview on camera after becoming flustered by the line of questioning about poverty.
He was clearly ill-prepared for the interview, hadn't thought it through and handled it very poorly. But he can be forgiven for not expecting to be singled out for such a line of attack, when a pub around the corner is charging upwards of £6 for a pint for beer and a restaurant up the road has a £19 starter and a £32 main course on its menu, as well as bottles of wine for more than £1,000 on its wine list.
In fact, if the Channel 4 News team are going to start picking fights with any business charging over the odds for goods and services in and around East London they'd never report on anything else.
Keery certainly felt his business had been singled out unfairly. In an open letter to Channel 4 News, published on Facebook, he wrote:
"You obviously don't understand business if you think I don't have to put a mark-up on what I sell. It may be the poorest borough in London but let's not forget Canary Wharf is also in this borough but I am the one to blame eh? I still have to pay over the top rent for my premises and pay the 12 staff I have employed so I either have to make profit or I will be out of business. Maybe if I charged over £3 for a coffee and dodged taxes like some cafés - the reporters would leave me alone."
Keery also took the opportunity to point out that the reporter who visited his business didn't even pay for the cereal he ate while there.
"You didn't even pay me for the cereal which you could so easily afford... so I will send you a bill for the extortionate £3.20."
On the bright side, Keery should probably console himself with all the free publicity his cafe has been getting.