The BBC has refused to interview a black history month campaigner because he would not remove a large golliwog doll from around his neck. A BBC spokesman said that they asked Chaka Artwell to remove the doll because it might be “offensive”, but he retorted that “white, middle-class liberal types” shouldn’t be allowed to dictate to him what he must be offended by.
Chaka Artwell was due to be interview by South East Today reporter Tom Turrell on the subject of a campaign to save Temple Cowley Pools in Oxford, a cause that Mr Artwell is also passionate about, when the incident happened, the Daily Mail has reported.
Before going on air Mr Turrell asked Mr Artwell to remove a golliwog soft toy from around his neck. Mr Artwell refused. “Tom asked me to remove my friend and I said ‘why?’
“He told me it would distract from my story and I said I didn’t think it would because I am a passionate speaker,” Mr Artwell said. “He said he would not do the interview unless I removed my dear friend, and I am really upset about it.”
Mr Artwell , who last October organised talks and debates to mark Black History Month in Oxford added: “When I was growing up in this country, this guy was a popular figure. Then, without anyone asking me if I was offended by it, people decided I was offended by it.
“White, middle-class liberal types decided I was offended by this guy, and in the year 2015 I don’t want people telling me what I should be offended by. People pick and choose what they want to highlight. This is ridiculous.”
BBC spokesman Meera Hindocha said: “We asked him to remove the large doll because it would distract viewers in a discussion about a local swimming pool and some viewers may have found it offensive. When he refused to do so we used another contributor.”