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Australian cafe charges male customers 'man tax'

Postmedia Network

(william87/Getty Images)

(william87/Getty Images)

The owners of a feminist vegan cafe in Australia, whose mission (aside from serving good coffee) is to promote gender equality, has ignited a firestorm on social media by charging male customers a "man tax."

Calls for a boycott of the newly-opened Handsome Her cafe in Melbourne started showing up on Twitter after the cafe introduced rules that include an 18% tax for male customers and priority seating for women.

Others on social media called the rules sexist and a form of discrimination.

"Not a fan. Whilst appreciate highlighting the issue of pay, creating an us and them is divisive. Flip this, and Twitter is in flames," one Twitter user said.

The 18% figure comes from a 2016 Australian government Workplace Gender Equality Agency report which found the average difference between a man and woman’s full-time weekly wage is about 18%.

While a lot of anger was directed at the cafe on social media, owner Alex O’Brien told Australian lifestyle site Broadsheet that the response from her customers has been largely positive.

“There’s been nothing but positivity from everyone, males and females,” she said.

She also emphasized that the man tax, which occurs one week out of every month, was voluntary and that the proceeds go to women's charities.

“It is a bit more tongue in cheek. If someone doesn’t want to pay the tax, we will just wipe it,” she said.