Sham Idrees | @Twitter
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New Delhi: When you are refused service late at night, accuse the establishment’s proprietors of bigotry. Or at least that’s what many Canadian-Pakistanis online seem to think YouTuber couple Sham Idrees and Queen Froggy attempted earlier this week.

Idrees posted a reel on Instagram on Monday about the “worst experience” of his and his wife’s life. “The racist servers told us they will not serve ‘people of your kind,” the text in the reel says, as Idrees also accuses a waitress, Jessica, of refusing to serve him, his wife and his family because they were wearing hijabs.


However, the reel itself is heavily edited, overlaid with background music, and only a single bit of dialogue from the restaurant scene is heard.

Idrees asks Jessica if wearing hijab is the reason that they are not being served, and Jessica seemingly says, “Yes-”, before the audio abruptly cuts off and the background music resumes for the rest of the reel. Idrees ends the reel by calling on his fans to leave 1-star reviews of the cafe.

Very few Pakistanis online, if any, were convinced by these accusations. The comments to Idrees’ Instagram reel are largely critical of him for not sharing the original, unedited video of the alleged incident.

“Not casting a doubt on your story, but if you are reporting such a serious incident, dont add music, dont edit it. I wanna hear what she said before and after “yeah”. But thats taped over by your background music,” user jawad_truenorth said.

Others pointed out that many Muslims, including those wearing hijabs, are frequent customers of the café, and criticised the YouTubers for inciting fans to leave bad reviews without providing sufficient evidence of discrimination.

Pakistani-Canadian Twitter concurred with these doubts.

“I wouldn’t have served Sham Idrees either”, said a user on Twitter.

“Did sham idrees really think he could get away w a fake story when he chose the demetres location that sees hundreds of visible muslims per week,” said another Twitter account.

“Sham Idrees and his wife fooled the ummah more than dajjal could ever do,” another user joked.

Sure enough, others on social media went even deeper than jokes to point out the many gaping holes in Sham Idrees and Queen Froggy’s soundtrack-filled allegations.

Toronto-based Pakistani-Canadian talk show host Kanwal Ahmed provided a swift response, in the form of an Instagram thread collating witness accounts posted on various platforms.

 

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A post shared by Kanwal Ahmed (@kanwalful)

According to these witnesses, the YouTuber couple turned up at Demetres in an entourage of 22 people and attempted to move tables to sit together, which was against Covid regulations. When staff tried to stop them, IG users Farah and Katherine claim, the YouTubers harassed the staff and tried to use their influence to obtain “special treatment”.

In a tweet, Ahmed also hit out at Idrees and Froggy, saying that they have “done a disservice to Muslims in Canada by faking a scenario”.

Demetres also responded to Idrees’ accusations by posting a statement on Instagram, on Tuesday, saying that the altercation was down to a “misunderstanding” over Covid-friendly seating protocols. In a follow-up statement on Wednesday, the restaurant chain added that it was “conducting a thorough review of the incident”

Idrees posted a follow-up video on Wednesday, doubling down on his accusations and detailing “proof” of his claims. However, it was an eight-minute breakdown of his original reel and did not include any unedited footage.

Once again, the response to his post is near-universal condemnation, as users are calling him out for not sharing the original video and for failing to adhere to Covid rules.

But the damage appears to have been done to the accused Demetres staff members, as a user who claimed to have visited the cafe on Thursday said that two women waitresses Idrees had shown in the reel “can no longer work due to death threats.”

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