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.”