UK

Golly Costume Advert Deemed Offensive And Banned By Advertising Standards Agency

19/02/2014 00:05 GMT | Updated 19/02/2014 10:59 GMT

A 'joke' website has been banned from advertising golliwog-style fancy dress costumes.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the outfit "was likely to cause serious or widespread offence" and ordered the owners of the joke.co.uk site to remove promotion for it online.

The costume, which comes in adult and 'couple' versions, is billed as a "fun retro look" on the website.

It includes a "dazzling red tailcoat" and "a pair of stripy trousers with fully elasticated waistband and a pair of boot covers."

golly costume

This outfit can no longer be advertised

Defending itself, Abscissa.Com Ltd (trading as Jokers Masquerade (Abscissa)) denied the costume was racist.

It said some of its costumes "might be perceived as insensitive or provocative to some, but that was the nature of fancy dress."

In a submission to the ASA, the company blamed the media for "sensationalising" the theme of "bad taste fancy dress", and said it would continue to offer a "wide and varied portfolio".

The agency said the 'golly' costume was not illegal.

But it went on: "We considered that the image had connotations with the nineteenth-century "Golliwog" character and the negative racial stereotypes that the character represented.

"We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence."

The costume sale was covered by the ASA's remit because it covers any 'encouragement to make a purchase', which need not be a traditional advert.

This means while the costume itself has not been banned from sale, it cannot be promoted on the company website.

This could be bad news for customers, including one who apparently wore the outfit to her son's 18th birthday party.

golly costume

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