Pub owner puts 'racist' dolls back up after police raid and says its only young people who get offended
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A pub owner has reinstalled controversial dolls after police raided the venue and seized them.
She and her husband Chris have displayed their collection of 15 dolls at their establishment as customers have gifted to them over the years.
The dolls were spawned during the Jim Crow era in the US and depict a caricature of a minstrel - which itself represented a demeaning image of Black people.
In recent years, these g******g toys and imagery have been prohibited as many activists have deemed it a ‘racist symbol’.
CCTV footage shows one officer inspecting the bar during last week's raid before gathering the dolls and placing them into an evidence bag.
While speaking to Thurrock Nub News, Benice said: "Apparently, a visitor to the pub had been quite upset about them and made a complaint.
“Chris is away abroad and will be until the middle of May.
"Police said as he is the licensee, they need to interview him, and they have taken the dolls away in the interim.”
The couple, who have owned the pub for almost two decades, also refused to remove the black-faced dolls after the local authority received a complaint in 2018.
Benice added: "I don't understand why we have to go through all this again.
"We have the police taking away information that is literally the history of this country. And why?”
She added: "If we were not breaking the law, then, why are we breaking the law now?”
The woman said that if punters have an issue with the dolls being on display, they should not enter the venue.
There is a sign on the venue that says 'We have golly dolls displayed inside on our shelves. If you feel offended. Please do not enter'.
Benice continued: "I think the racist people are the ones who complain – it’s their problem, not us.”
She added: "I have so many different cultures come in here, we are definitely not racist. We do many Indian weddings, for example.”
A spokesperson for Essex Police said: "We are investigating an allegation of hate crime in Grays reported to us on 24 February.
"On Tuesday, 4 April, we attended a location off Argent Street, Grays, and seized several items in connection with our investigation."
Benice has since put the dolls back up in the pub following the raid.
She explained to the Independent: "These are from our past and it’s only the young lads complaining … it’s absolutely silly.”