UK: Pub landlady defies police orders and puts five golliwogs back on display to applause from lunchtime drinkers just days after six officers seized 20 dolls in 'hate crime' probe

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An old controversy. It is a bit odd, though. There is no doubt that the dolls are a caricature of Africans. So the do-gooders are actually demonizing African features?

There is a history of the Golliwog here. It was in fact an American invention. Excerpt: "Childhood toy, lovable rascal, cheeky jam mascot; how can anything that innocent be regarded as racist? That is certainly the view of many who were brought up with golliwogs"

Incidentally, Derek Laud is a black British political speechwriter who is quite happy with his nickname as "Golly" (The usual abbreviation of "Golliwog") . But Mr Laud and his friends are conservatives. Unlike the Left, they have a sense of humor

I had a golliwog myself when I was a little kid and regarded it with some affection. Was that wrong of me?

Benice Ryley proudly placed five of the controversial dolls behind the bar of The White Hart pub in Grays, Essex, which she has run for the past 17 years with her husband Chris.

The couple, who are in their 60s, had six officers enter the pub last Tuesday and take away 20 dolls displayed on a shelf behind the bar after an anonymous complaint was made against them.

They also seized an assortment of golliwog badges and magnets that adorned the bar.

As she placed some of them on a shelf, she told MailOnline: 'The whole thing is ridiculous. It's political correctness gone out of control. I'm not going to let the authorities intimidate me and I'm proudly putting my other gollis back on display in the pub.

'I'm still shocked that six officers came to my pub last week, surrounded me and took away my collection of golliwogs. I've not committed any crime and haven't set out to offend anyone. These gollis are a part of the pub, the customers love them, and they are reminder of our childhood.'

Ms Ryley also posted a notice at the entrance to the pub warning customers that golliwogs are on display inside and that they should not enter if this will offend them. The sign declares: 'We have golly dolls displayed inside on our shelves. If you feel offended. Please do not enter.'

She added: 'The police took 20 of my golli dolls but I've got plenty more of them upstairs. If people don't like them and feel offended by seeing them then they don't have to come into my pub. It's as simple as that. I'm not going to give into this crazy political correctness. We have customers at this pub from all different races and none of them have ever complained about seeing my gollis on display. Why did the police get involved in this?'

The White Hart pub is located on the edge of a council estate in Grays notorious for crime and drug dealing.

Ms Ryley and other regulars fumed that police rarely attend when called out for 'real' crimes and slammed the presence of six police officers who removed the golliwogs from the pub.

Two others waited outside while their colleagues placed the dolls in plastic bags to take them away.

Her husband was away in Turkey at the time with police informing her that they wish to question him for a 'hate crime' when he returns as he is the licensee.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is said to have been furious about the approach, and has told Essex Police that bosses should be focusing on catching real criminals rather than seizing toys.

The issue of whether the dolls are racist or not often sparks fierce debate. The golliwog was created by Florence Kate Upton in 1895 in her book 'The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog', where it was described as 'a horrid sight, the blackest gnome'.

After the author created the golliwog, it became a favourite for collectors and was popular in the UK as the mascot of Robertson's jam.

But by the 1980s, it was increasingly seen as an offensive racist caricature of black people.

Some people hark back to fond childhood memories of the dolls, whereas others argue golliwogs are a racist icon of a bygone age.

In a YouGov poll last year 53 per cent of respondents said they thought selling or displaying golliwogs was 'acceptable' compared to 27 per cent who did not.

Asked if it was racist to sell or display a golliwog doll, 63 per cent of respondents said it was not, while 17 per cent did.

Ms Ryley said: 'Surely the police have better things to do. If they arrest my Chris when he gets back, I promise you, the world will know about it.

'I totally agree with the Home Secretary. The police need to focus on real crime and not worry about what dolls people are displaying.'

Pub regular Sue Payne, 57 said: 'It's absolutely stupid and a complete waste of police time and money. You can get stabbed or mugged around here and the police won't come or if they do, it'll be after ages. But somebody complains about some dolls and six officers turn up. You couldn't make it up.'


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