Thursday, 1 Jun 2023

Cafe owner at centre of golliwog dolls row says he sells 'hundreds of them'

A manager at a Norfolk café has defended his decision to sell controversial golliwog dolls.

The toys were created in response to racist minstrel caricatures, with each featuring frizzy hair, big lips and large white teeth.

A customer who recently visited the Old Manor Cafe in the seaside resort of of Caister-on-Sea was shocked to discover the dolls on display in 2023.

The customer, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘These racially stereotypical caricatures have been morally unacceptable in this country for years.

‘But not in Norfolk it would appear.’

The manager of the cafe, who also did not wish to be named, stood by the decision.

He said: ‘It’s OK for people to complain about them. It is their right.

‘But people aren’t complaining about the other things I have on display. They’re not seeing the whole picture.’

The manager said while no customer had complained to him personally, two customers complained to another staff member last year, before police were called.

He claimed the figurines remain popular with customers and he has sold ‘hundreds’ in the past, including to a ‘black bloke from Brixton’.

Having the appearance of jet-black skin, big lips and big white teeth, golliwogs have long been deemed racist in the UK.

Last year two Metropolitan Police officers who shared vile racist messages on WhatsApp comparing Meghan Markle to a golliwog were sacked.

What is a golliwog?

The golliwog became a popular character in Britain in the 1970s.

Jam and marmalade manufacturer Robertson’s used the doll as its trademark symbol and sold badges, games for children, and even clothing adorned with the caricature.

But Robertson’s stopped using the golly character in 2002.

Having the appearance of jet-black skin, big lips and big white teeth, golliwogs have been used to dehumanise black people.

Last week in Grays, Essex, five police officers seized a collection of golliwog dolls from the White Hart Inn.

Home secretary Suella Braverman blasted Essex Police for ‘getting involved in nonsense’.

Pub landlord Benice Ryley defied police and put more of her golliwog collection back behind her bar – just days after the incident.

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