Canadian Chamber of Commerce CEO criticised for 'one-percenter' champagne and caviar tweet on New Year's Eve
'Let them eat cake', he said, but furious backlash included one person asking what 'happened to the last person who said that...'
It was a tweet sent at the height of New Year celebrations – but the boss of one of Canada’s biggest business networks may be making a resolution to stay off social media after a furious backlash.
Rocco Rossi, the CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, posted pictures of champagne and caviar, telling followers: “Celebrating New Year’s the 1-percenter way! Let them eat cake :-)”
But he was forced into an embarrassing apology the following morning after being inundated with Canadians calling the tweet offensive.
Many appeared to feel irked because as leader of the Ontario chamber, Mr Rossi lobbied for and then praised legislation which stopped the province’s minimum wage being raised and prevented other worker-friendly measures from coming into place.
The 56-year-old – who has previously held senior positions with businesses including Boston Consulting Group and MGI Software – deleted the tweet on 1 January and issued an apology saying that he had intended the post to be satirical.
“I sent a tweet out on New Year’s Eve that was meant to be satirical but in retrospect was insensitive and caused offense,” he wrote. “I sincerely apologize for the tweet as it was never intended to offend.”
But many responded on social media by saying the new post was too little too late.
“Satirical for who?” wrote one user. “For all the hard working people who just wanted the extra dollar an hour they deserve to help put a roof over their head and food on their kid’s plate? Or satirical for you and your rich buds? You baked your cake. Eat it up and resign.”
Another, riffing on Mr Rossi’s use of the infamous Marie Antoinette quote, asked: “I wonder [what] happened to the last person who said that...” Marie Antoinette was guillotined during the French Revolution.
But others defended Rossi, calling the criticism out of proportion, recalling his work for charitable causes and drawing attention to the fact he was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his Philanthropic and Community service in 2012.