A golliwog crime

September 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

A grandmother who displayed a golliwog in the window of her 16th-century manor house is to appear in court charged with race hate crimes. Jena Mason, 65, denies she is racist.

She was arrested after Rosemarie O’Donnell told police the doll was a racial taunt and supplied officers with a photograph. She claimed that the sight of the golliwog had left her “shocked and upset”.

Mrs O’Donnell, 48, lives next door to Mrs Mason in Beccles, Suffolk, with her husband Stephen, an IT executive. The couple have children who are of mixed race.

Mrs Mason’s solicitor said: “Any offence that was caused was totally unintentional.” It is believed she claimed that the doll had been put in the ground-floor annexe of her home with other toys by a child to keep them from a family dog.

The golliwog began as a children’s book character in the late 19th century before being reproduced as a toy. The jam manufacturer Robertson’s withdrew its golliwog mascot from television advertising in 1988 and had dropped it from all its marketing by 2002.


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