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Outrage over sale of 'racist golliwogs'

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: October 14, 2008

NEWQUAY'S family-friendly image could be severely damaged by the controversial sale of so-called racist 'golliwog' dolls, council chiefs have warned.

Restormel Borough Council says it is investigating the sale of the dolls in "Newquay shops" following a complaint to the authority. A family contacted the council, claiming they were left "personally offended and very concerned" by the sale of the dolls.

The dolls had been on display in the window of Spalls of Newquay, on Bank Street, but have since been moved inside.

In a statement released this week, Restormel said it would take action.

"We take the issues raised by this complaint very seriously as we realise many people from all communities associate these dolls with racism and are offended by them," the council said.

"We, along with many others, want Newquay to be perceived as a welcoming environment, and realise the sale of these dolls may not reflect this.

"At the next Newquay Traders' forum in November, we will be discussing this complaint with traders, to make them aware many people view these dolls negatively and ask them to take this into account when deciding to sell or display such items."

Restormel said it had contacted the family who made the initial complaint over the dolls and they were happy the matter had been "satisfactorily concluded".

However, it is not the first time sale of the dolls has caused uproar in Cornwall.

Just last month, a shop owner in Bodmin agreed to stop selling the dolls following complaints.

A tourist was also left outraged after he spotted them in Julian Foye furniture store in Fowey, in February of this year.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said the sale of the dolls in Newquay was hard to believe.

"I couldn't honestly believe what I saw in the shop window," she said.

"People will say this is political correctness gone mad, but I found this very offensive and I am sure I am not the only one who would have walked past the window and looked in horror at what I saw."

The Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall, based in Newquay, said they had spoken to Spalls of Newquay about their display.

A spokesperson for the equality and human rights commission previously told the Newquay Guardian: "The issue of golliwogs is offensive to many people; not least because they have associations with slavery and are seen as a patronising representation of black people.

"Any business or organisation should take this into account when deciding to sell or display such items.

"They are not mere toys, and can cause offence to people from all communities," he added.

Spalls of Newquay refused to comment on the issue.

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