Black Chef Suing Employers After Boss Used Word ‘Golliwog’ During Conversation About Robertson’s Jam

Alice Philipson, Telegraph (London), December 2, 2013

A black chef is claiming racial harassment after her manager used the word ‘golliwog’ during a conversation about the old label on Robertson’s jam.

Denise Lindsay, 45, was working for the London School of Economics when chef manager, Mark McAleese, said the controversial word in front of her.

Now her lawyers are battling to convince three top judges that the word is inherently offensive to black people and almost always discriminatory–no matter in what context it is used.

Her barrister, Daniel Matovu, told the court: “White people don’t get called ‘golliwogs’. The word is an overtly racial comment.

“‘Golliwog’ cannot be interpreted in any other way.

“What the authorities make clear is that, when something is inherently discriminatory and clearly has racial overtones, there is no further debate.”

Originally called the Golliwog, the Golly first appeared on jars of Robertson’s jam in 1910. However, the character was removed in 2001.

Ms Lindsay was working as an assistant chef manager at the LSE’s Bloomsbury student halls in February 2009 when Mr McAleese used the word while discussing “the change to the label of Robertson’s jam,” the court heard.

Ms Lindsay was upset and an employment tribunal later found that what Mr McAleese said amounted to “an isolated act of harassment”–despite the fact that he had apologised and had not uttered the word for the “purpose of violating her dignity”.

The tribunal ruled: “We have concluded that, for a white manager to use the words ‘golliwog’ and ‘golliwog jam’ in the course of a conversation with a black Afro-Caribbean colleague is unwanted conduct”.

However, Ms Lindsay’s harassment claim was dismissed after the tribunal said it had been brought too late.

Whether that decision was justified is one of the central issues now being considered by the Appeal Court judges.

Mr Matovu argued the tribunal was plainly wrong to dismiss the “golliwog complaint” purely on grounds of delay.

However, the LSE’s barrister, Shaen Catherwood, insisted that Mr McAleese’s use of the contentious word–spoken quietly and quickly–did not come anywhere close to racial harassment.

“I say it is unsatisfactory that somebody should be labelled with a finding of harassment on racial grounds when the actual context in which the word was used was innocent and inoffensive,” he told the court.

Lord Justice Christopher Clarke reserved their decision on the case until a later date.

Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Truthseeker

    John Derbyshire discussed this on his podcast. Just another example of how freedom of speech is becoming a relic from a bygone era, thanks to diversity and its attendant problems.

    • So CAL Snowman

      It’s just like 1984, our speech is used against us. Without freedom of speech there is no true freedom. I still (to this day) do not understand how Orwell could be so prescient and spot on about our current society, considering that “1984” was published in 1949. Maybe he didn’t know and the elite used “1984” as an instruction manual.

      • Sick of it

        It’s been said that George Orwell was a member of the Fabian Society. Consider it inside information.

        • Paleoconn

          Of course he was a socialist. I don’t know if he was predicting the future as it turned out or hoping for it.

  • Ragehol .

    Black people: Scientifically proven to be less productive, less intelligent, more criminal and more likely to sue you. Isn’t it wonderful that we are forced to employ and work with them?

    The only places you get to celebrate diversity are the court and the morgue.

  • Strike_Team

    Why do I think of Sambo’s restaurants while reading this story?

    There’s a Sambo’s in Santa Barbara. Been there more than a couple of names.

    Btw, the restaurants got their name from the founders; Sam Battistone and Newell Bohnett. The “Little Black Sambo” materials were added after the fact as part of a marketing promotion. But when black people complain in a white country that isn’t ruled by whites…

  • Guest

    Going forward, I shall employ the word
    when I speak about a certain demographic.

  • Aunt Jemima appears to be taking lessons from American blacks.

    • Alexandra1973

      How long before talking about “Aunt Jemima” pancake syrup is offensive?

  • Alexandra1973

    So you can overhear a word that you don’t like and play the ghetto lottery…? The inmates are running the asylum….

  • IstvanIN

    An England full of say, Englishmen, would be so much easier.

  • Sick of it

    Why was said Afro-Caribbean in England to begin with?

  • me

    Golliwogs are cute and harmless, unlike what they are supposed to represent….

  • Bantu_Education

    Golliwogs frequently appeared in Rupert the Bear’s adventures, at least up until the 1970’s. They were always depicted as jolly characters although, if I recall correctly, things would often go, er, missing, when they were around. Alfred Bestall, who drew Rupert and wrote the stories for 50 years or so (from 1935 onwards) also introduced British children to Origami, an art which was almost entirely unknown before then – this picture shows one of his folded paper animals.

  • freddy_hills

    Ghetto lottery.

  • Juan Outtamany

    and now you know why it is better to NEVER hire them

  • Brian

    We have concluded that, for a white manager to use the words ‘golliwog’
    and ‘golliwog jam’ in the course of a conversation with a black
    Afro-Caribbean colleague is unwanted conduct”.
    Having a black Afro-Caribbean colleague is unwanted. Having to walk on eggshells is unwanted.

  • Some Guy

    I think I’ll quit my job so a talented 10th can have it. To show we are not racist, every White person with a small child should put that child in a black run day care…what could go wrong?

    “Brawl” at black run day care, day care workers punching the father as he holds his toddler.

  • Jkjljmt_Pqprpstt

    This is FORCED assimilation.