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Viewer offended by racist comment on daytime TV

A guest on a popular daytime television show was criticised today for using the racist slur 'golliwog.'

The unacceptable term was used on the hit Midday programme during a discussion about a bride's curly hair.

One viewer, of Pakistani origin, told the Herald that he wanted an apology for the offensive remark.

The storm blew up last Friday when Mairead Lavery, editor of the Irish Country Living Magazine, used the term when she appeared as a guest on the TV3 discussion programme last week.

Ms Lavery was speaking about her appearance on her wedding day when she made the remark.

Ms Lavery said: "My wedding photographs show me with a big head of curls, the only time I ever had curls. I felt like a golliwog.

"I couldn't believe this head of hair," she said.

However, her comments have offended at least one viewer, who told the Herald he intends to pursue the matter further with TV3.


Gerry James, from Harcourt Street in Dublin, told the Herald he was appalled when he arrived into his apartment and heard the comment, which he has described as a "racist" term.

Mr James, whose father is from Pakistan and moved here in the 1950s, told the Herald that he has been a figure of derision all his life and was "seriously offended" by what he heard.

"I have to deal with a lot of grief, I walk down the street and I get called the N word, I can deal with that. What I can't deal with is hearing it on the TV in the middle of the day," he said.

Mr James said he wants a public apology from TV3 and Mairead Lavery. TV3 has so far chosen not to comment on the controversy when contacted by the Herald.

The term 'golliwog' comes from a black, frizzy haired doll that was popular in the 1940s, but from the 1950s on it became used as a term of racial abuse directed at black people.