Harpo Productions recently requested that the Dafel Dolls and Bear Shop in Australia pull a “Mamee” golliwog washerwoman doll from its shelves in fear that it might offend Oprah Winfrey, the Herald Sun reports. This request was made right before a private cocktail party for Oprah was hosted in the shop on Friday.

The washerwoman doll is a blackface doll dressed in a maid costume and headscarf, akin to the offensive sambo dolls that were produced post-slavery. Golliwog dolls are viewed as offensive to Americans because of their perceived links to slavery and oppression of African-Americans.

The store owner signed a confidentiality agreement with Harpo Productions, but confirmed to the Herald Sun that a meeting indeed did take place. “Oprah’s people came . . . and yes it was discussed,” a source familiar with the agreement told the Herald Sun. “As a result, they won’t have that particular doll on display. But there will be plenty of other gollies when they come through.”

Although the “Mamee” doll was pulled from shelves, other golliwog dolls are still on display and for sale in the Melbourne, Australia doll shop. Each doll has an explanatory note about its history as a means to avoid future controversy.
Oprah Winfrey is currently in Australia for her “Down Under Tour.”

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  • African Mami

    @newsinsight….where exactly is the ‘HATE’?

    And dont hate on Oprah because she did something with her life and she demands respect.

  • sunshyne84

    She did Color Purple and you think she would be offended by this doll?

  • As a child of dual parentage *CaribbeanFather/AmericanMother* I am proud to say I am well versed in the history of SLAVERY in America & Colonialism in the Caribbean. Sad to say but Colonialism is a Nice/British word for slavery *Kissteeth*

    The golliwog represents an exaggerated depiction of a slave. The dark skin/enlarged RED lips and the “Boo” ghost eyes. When you know the history you’re aware that it’s insensitive to Black ppl as a whole, no matter WHERE you come from. A lot of ppl collect these dolls as part of the Americana history. Australia is known for it’s “ism” towards Aboriginal ppl & although they may not see the golliwog as a big deal it’s b/c it doesn’t depict WHITENESS in a bad light. It’s an accepted form of discrimination.

    Sometimes Black ppl feel like if it doesn’t say “Nigger or JiggaBoo” on something it’s “not that bad” Well it is. Know ya history so other ppl won’t take backhanded shots at you or your descendents !PopStyle!

    • secret ninja

      thank you. one of the few comments that is a voice of reason regarding this doll.

      you want “context”? it’s racist. period.

      and let me tell you something: just because something is sold as a souvenir doesn’t make it right or appropiate.

      open your eyes people and take a good look at the “post-racist world” white people have been hailing since Obama became President.

      “post-racist world” is code word for nonacknowledgement of racism.

    • Clnmike

      Well said.

    • Michelle

      If you read the article again you will note that the other golliwog dolls are left on display! Only this one with the apron is removed. What is offensive about the outfit, that is not offensive about the golliwogs?????

      I dont think anyone is denying the history of racism and oppression in the caribbean and all the ills of colonialism. That doesn’t mean that those dresses and all aprons should be destroyed and everyone in the caribbean needs to find a new history.

      In my personal opinion, I see no possible way to make this doll inoffensive and still be a rag doll or still have on the same outfit

      I just think its ridiculous that for a black doll to be acceptable it needs to never have on a head wrap and/or apron ( god help you if its both) or it must have anatomically realistic facial features.

      What is the significance of this outfit in Australia? I sure don’t know.

      This is what I meant by context. Declaring racism should not be a kneejerk reaction. How could Oprah find that one doll more offensive than the several golliwogs allegedly on display? If it were really about racial sensitivity, I believe all of the golliwogs and questionable black dolls would be removed.

      It sounds like a personal Oprah preference to me…. not so much on that particular doll’s extreme offensive racism compared to all the other dolls in the store.

  • Alexandra

    It looks like the sterotypical mammy, because it is. But I’m not offended.
    This type of stuff is part of their culture. And yes that includes racism.