"Keep calm and slap a bitch as we approach the finals of this years [sic] NRL! Live & Loud every game!" Gerry Wright, manager of the Coopers Hotel in Newtown posted ahead of the NRL grand final last week.
The post attracted an immediate backlash, with complaints and one-star reviews flooding the hotel’s Facebook page. “Disgusting”, “deplorable” and “sick” were all terms used to describe Wright’s post, among calls for a boycott.
"Jokes about domestic violence against women aren't funny. And during football season when violence against women spikes?" one woman wrote.
Her comments referenced a new study by La Trobe University, which found domestic violence assaults increased by 40 per cent in NSW on State of Origin nights, compared with other Wednesdays.
While Wright issued a brief apology on the Facebook page later that day, identifying himself in the process, it didn’t save his job – the licensees of the hotel confirmed he had been fired the next day.
"As some of you may be aware, yesterday a staff member posted a meme with an inappropriate comment on our Facebook page. That post was subsequently removed," they wrote on Facebook.
"We have taken action in relation to that staff member. Their employment has been immediately terminated and they no longer work at the hotel. Their behaviour does not reflect who we are.
"As licensees of Cooper (sic) Hotel, we do not condone violence of any type against any person regardless, of age, gender or sexual preference. That's not who we are. We pride ourselves on being part of the Newtown community, providing good food, great entertainment and a safe environment.
However it is not the first time the pub has come under fire for inappropriate messaging: earlier this month derogatory comments were made about women in a promotional post about cheap burgers.