Gerald Aboud

Defended Hunt: Gerald Aboud, Starlite Group CEO.

Following public outrage, another business owner has apologised for controversial Facebook comments following the police killing of George Floyd in the US last week.

CEO of ­Starlite Group Ltd Gerald Aboud took to the company’s Facebook page yesterday to apologise for statements many ­regarded as racist.

This is the second time Aboud has apologised for controversial statements on Facebook.

In June 2018, after being publicly criticised, he said sorry for referring to Indian Arrival Day and Corpus Christi as “two stupid holidays in the middle of the week”.

In his apology yesterday, Aboud stated: “Regarding the public outrage that I am a racist, nothing can be farther than the truth. I support all lives and it is in my nature to do so. One should not judge a person by his opinion on a matter or that he sought to defend someone, but rather by his actions. My actions over my life have shown only equality and fairness, and those who know me will stand by that.

“Starlite has also been a symbol of that ethos, in our efforts to build our community every step of the way.

“When the toll is read and the chips are counted, you will see that Starlite has done a great deal for communities throughout Trinidad. However, no man is perfect, in my haste to defend a friend my comments were seen as aggravating and racist and for that I am sorry. We stand united in support of #blacklivesmatter.”

Hundreds of social media users chastised Aboud and vowed to boycott Starlite.

On Tuesday, Aboud posted a series of comments on his Facebook page in defence of Dianne Tea Shop owner Dianne Hunt, who had earlier posted a photo of a cake, with the words “All Lives Matter” written in chocolate around it.

Hunt later removed the post and apologised, saying she had no idea “All lives matter” was a contradiction to “Black lives matter”.

What he wrote

Aboud then wrote on his Facebook page: “If someone wants to say #alllivesmatter they may have that right to say that. Just like you can say blacklives matter and mean something else they can also say all lives matter and also include to support the black movement. WTF!”

Another post stated: “Racism is one thing and the right to have an opinion is another. If I don’t like Chinese people you can’t force me to like Chinese people. I may have reasons and I am entitled to that.”

“Many people have been oppressed over time and none of it should be tolerated. Black people I will say this, we see your plight and we feel for all of you, we really do, however, what you need to do is rise up from this state of mind, that is all I can say. Every time you go steal a sneakers and do some sh** regardless you make it much worse for yourselves. Killing your people everyday, does black lives matter then? Rise up and work ­towards improvement.”

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