Those people at the BBC just can't help themselves can they? Only a few weeks ago Chris Moyles was in the headlines for insulting Polish people and I don't have to mention the Ross/Russ gate scandal of 2008. So I wouldn't say I was "surprised" to hear that Carole "2005 Queen of the Jungle" Thatcher, daughter of Margaret Thather, has been banned from the BBC after muttering a hideously shocking and revolting racist remark.
The jungle winner made the remark whilst appearing on BBC's The One Show where she worked as a roving reporter. She refferred to a tennis player (who has not yet been named) as a "golliwog". For all those who are not aware of what a golliwog is, what they represent or even what they look like let me enlighten you with this enchanting bit of history... The Golliwog is a character created in the late 19th century by Florence Kate Upton. It was inspired by a blackface minstrel doll which Upton found as a child in her aunt's attic in North London. Throughout time it has been reproduced as a commercial toy for children coming in forms of a rag-doll, in children's books and cartoons. Although considered as a "toy" to some consumers, the term "golliwog" is a racist term for black people. The Golliwog has a wide smile, big bulgy eyes, a wide nose and huge afro hair showing similarities to people who performed in Minstrel shows, which lamponned black people in various ways, as ignorant, lazy, buffonish, joyous and musical. Carol’s spokeswoman says that it was an “off the cuff remark made in jest” and added that she’d since apologised verbally and in writing to the BBC. The BBC confirmed that they had “no plans to work with Carol on The One Show at the present time”, with a spokesman adding, “The BBC considers any language of a racist nature wholly unacceptable. This is not the only time the term "golliwog" has appeared to spark insult and debate within the media.
- In the 1980's popular children's author Enid Blyton replaced Mr. Golly in her Noddy books as Mr Sparks to avoid insult.
- In September 2007, fashion retailer Zara stocked a Golliwog printed t-shirt. and a swastika emblazoned handbag As the designs caused so much controversy (including yours truly writing and receiving a written apology from Zara) the retailer was forced to remove the item of clothing.
- In June 2007, world supermodel Naomi Campbell pleaded guilty to assault whilst travelling with British Airways. She claims her air-rage was fueled by being called a "Golliwog Supermodel" by a member of BA staff.
So.... Was the BBC correct to ban Carole for using this remark? Should Golliwog still be considered an offensive word? Is everyone over-reacting? Let me know!