Grays pub golliwog doll furore continues as contrasting views become focal point for national media

By Nub News Reporter

12th Apr 2023 | Local News

Benice Ryley pictured in the Guardian with dolls supporters have sent in.
Benice Ryley pictured in the Guardian with dolls supporters have sent in.

CONCERN and arguments with widely different opinions continue to surge over police action to remove a number of golly dolls from a Grays pub.

In the past week Thurrock Nub News broke the story of a number of uniformed police officers arriving at the White Hart off Argent Street in Grays and confiscating a number of Robertson Jams-styled golliwogs, historic promotional badges and a book.

The decision to visit the pub and take action in the wake of a single complaint has sparked something of a media frenzy at national level - highlighted by contrasting reports from the Daily Mail and The Guardian - bastions of right and left wing journalism respectively.

The Mail was among the first to follow up on our story and damned police for their action - following up with reports that Home Secretary Suella Braverman and the Home Office had rounded on Essex Police.

The force denies that is the case and says it has not been contacted by the minister or the Home Office.

And the Guardian has weighed in with a detailed report reflecting the opinions of a local charity store manager who believes the pub and its landlords, Chris and Benice Ryley, are making a racist stance.

The sign in the White Hart where the dolls used to be.

The Guardian quotes Tony Daly, who manages a nearby charity shop, who said the dolls made his "blood boil" and said he was shocked they had been on display in such a diverse area.

He also plans to confront landlady Benice over the issue.

He told the Guardian: "I find them very offensive and I'll be going there to peacefully put my point across and to educate her.

"I grew up in Tottenham in the 70s when we fought against those kind of things. They used to call black people golliwogs.

"It's a racist symbol that says slavery to me and the black and white minstrels.

"It's so outdated and offensive to black people."

Bernice Ryley remains unmoved and said the pub has been sent several replacement dolls from supporters with more on the way.

She told the Guardian: "We've had loads and loads of support. When people started complaining in 2018 I was sent more gollies in the post. Three have come in the last few days and there are two more in the post."

She also denies that the word 'wog' is racist.

She told the Guardian: "I'm not a racist in any form. I won't use that word because I've been told not to. But I don't find that offensive."

     

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