A Gold Coast restaurant owner has lashed out at thousands of school leavers celebrating Schoolies, branding them “drunken pr**ks” and blaming them for his downturn in business.
Schoolies kicked off in Surfers Paradise on Saturday, with more than 20,000 teenagers expected to attend the first week of festivities.
Just three nights in and the end of Year 12 celebrations have already been embroiled in controversy over masses of rubbish covering the streets, prompting many to slam the “feral” actions.
Now, Murray Taylor, owner of Italian restaurant Nicolinis Surfers Paradise, has claimed the Schoolies attendees have “completely killed” his business, saying the usual crowds of tourists and regular customers steer clear of the city’s entertainment precinct as it has become overrun by teens.
He told The Gold Coast Bulletin his trade had dropped by as much as 80 per cent since the celebrations began and he was “fed up”.
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“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely anti-Schoolies but the drunken pr**ks causing chaos up and down Surfers Paradise Boulevard have completely killed us,” Mr Taylor said.
“There’s people spewing on the sidewalk and toolies carrying on and screaming while people are trying to enjoy a nice Italian meal. It’s ridiculous.”
The restaurant owner told the publication on an average weekend his chefs would prepare 200 meals a night, but on Friday that number dropped to just 18.
He said he had to get his daughter, who is attending Schoolies, and 10 of her friends to eat at the restaurant for free just so it looked busy.
In desperation, Mr Taylor put out a call on social media, begging his loyal customers not to be deterred by the school leavers.
“To all our amazingly loyal & fabulous customers – please don’t let Schoolies keep you away as we are in the quiet part of town and we would love to see you tonight,” the restaurant said in a Facebook post.
“Unfortunately Schoolies has impacted the restaurants here as many people try to avoid the area but we can assure you that it’s business as usual and it’s quite peaceful here.”
In a bid to further entice customers, Mr Taylor offered a free drink to anyone who came in and mentioned the post.
‘Feral’ reality of Schoolies exposed online
The wild – and gross – antics of some school leavers have been exposed online, with many attendees not afraid to show the unglamorous side of Schoolies.
Videos posted to TikTok have shown the huge mess left behind on the street following the first few nights of partying.
In one video, rubbish can be seen strewn across Cavill Ave, the main strip in Surfers Paradise, with seagulls picking through the remains of food packages.
“You dirty motherf***ers,” a person is heard screaming out as the footage pans across the scene.
“Class of 2022 is feral,” one person commented on the video.
Another person claimed Schoolies had “never been this bad”, saying the 2022 graduates “just don’t have the respect”.
“I normally say they are just having fun but at least they could have used the bins,” another said.
There have only been two nights of celebrations so far, but each morning new videos have emerged showing the “feral” state the streets have been left in.
“Schoolies, this is f**ked,” a school leaver says as the camera pans over the rubbish strewn across the street from the first night.
The day two “aftermath” shows a similar scene.
“Bruh does no one know how to use a bin or what,” one user wrote.
“That’s foul,” another said.
Many suggested it was particularly disheartening sight given that this cohort of graduates have grown up being taught about their impact on the environment.
“So disrespectful to the environment,” one user wrote.
Another school leaver showed off the state of his hotel room after just two nights of partying.
In the TikTok video, empty pizza boxes, various rubbish and – of course – a huge number of empty drink cans can be seen covering tables and the ground in the room.
Vapes, packets of condoms, empty McDonald’s bags and piles of clothes are also strewn around the place.
A look inside the fridge shows it is packed full of more alcoholic beverages, with a single tub of butter and a bottle of tomato sauce appearing to be the only non-alcoholic items in view.
The video was captioned: “Every schoolies room rn.”
Other attendees claimed to have been kicked out of their hotel within the first few days of the celebrations kicking off.
Two teenage boys posted a video to TikTok of them dancing after claiming to have been booted from their hotel for “excessive possession of alcohol”.
The poster then uploaded another video saying their friends had let him stay at their hotel at the Hilton.
“Got evicted from my sh**ty hotel but now I’m camping att the Hilton for the cost of drinks,” he wrote on the video.
“Homies letting me sleep on the balcony to get me off the streets for the next week,” the caption read.
However, many people were sceptical about his claims, saying they had never heard of such a rule.
Despite the wild antics playing out online, Queensland Police have so far praised the actions of Schoolies attendees.
On Sunday, Gold Coast District Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman said the first night of celebration had “spectacularly”, with only four people arrested on seven charges.
He said this was almost identical to last year’s numbers, but this year there were an extra 10,000 school leavers attending.
“So when you work those numbers out, it just highlights the incredible behaviour that’s being displayed by our school leavers,” he said.
“We’ve seen our school leavers displaying a lot of maturity for their young years.
“Normally in previous years, we wouldn’t see school leavers until around midday when they’d start surfacing; driving through the Gold Coast earlier this morning they’re out and about, going to cafes, having breakfast.”