Monday 22 January 2018

Golliwog doll removed from shop for Oprah visit

Bonnie Malkin

Oprah Winfrey's production company has sparked a debate over golliwog dolls in Australia after reportedly asking a Melbourne shop to remove them from its display fearing they would offend the talkshow host.

The family-run Dafel Dolls and Bear Shop in Melbourne was asked to take the "Mamee" washer woman dolls from its shelves before a party at the shop for 110 guests of Winfrey's "Ultimate Australian Adventure", according to the Herald Sun newspaper.

Dressed in a maid costume with a scarf around its head, it was feared the doll would upset Winfrey. Other golliwog dolls are reportedly to remain on display.

The toys are considered offensive in the United States because of their links with slavery and racism, but the move has sparked controversy in Australia.

Jeff Kennett, the outspoken former premier of the state of Victoria, said he was "disappointed" that the dolls had been taken down.

"I love golliwogs. My godmother made and presented to me on my birth Jacko, who is my golliwog. I still have it, I have a basket full of golliwogs," he said.

"I think golliwogs are the most repressed toys in society today. I think [that] we've had to remove this poor golliwog from display is such a sign of political correctness it makes me upset.

"I think every golliwog should rise up as one against this political correctness."

Winfrey and 300 guests from America are taking part in an eight-day tour of Australia. During the trip she will film three shows in Australia - the first ever filmed outside North America.

A shop employee denied any agreement had been entered into with Oprah's production company.

But a source told the newspaper: "Oprah's people came ... and yes it was discussed. As a result, they won't have that particular doll on display. But there will be plenty of other gollies when they come through."

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