Global Outcry Against Prevalent Racism: UK Shop Pulls Controversial Plantation Image

by Scotty T. Reid, BTRN – A store in Surrey, which recently faced backlash for perpetuating racial stereotypes with a poster of “subjugated black workers” on a tobacco plantation, has now removed the controversial image.

On Tuesday, a video circulated on social media where Misan Harriman called out the offensive imagery displayed behind the counter at Farrants in Cobham, Surrey. He labeled it as a stark reminder of pervasive racism not just locally but on a global scale. “There’s absolutely no justification for such a triggering and racially insensitive image,” Harriman emphasized.

Acknowledging its mistake, the shop has expressed regret and formally apologized.

Apart from a diverse product range including confectionery, greeting cards, and toys, Farrants also boasts a specialized tobacco section. The contentious image depicted black individuals laboring on a tobacco plantation, seemingly under the watch of white supervisors. This image, the store clarified, was from the Pinar del Rio plantation in Cuba, captured in 1907 – a good two decades past the nation’s abolition of slavery.

Despite a poster beside the image attempting to rationalize its display, Harriman, a renowned photographer and chairperson of London’s Southbank Centre, asserted that the depiction’s context – whether showcasing indentured laborers or victims of slavery – was inconsequential. “Such racially charged imagery, especially in a family-centric store, is both deeply triggering and undeniably racist,” Harriman articulated.

Reiterating their regret on Instagram, Farrants announced, “The contentious image has been taken down. We deeply apologize for the distress and hurt it inadvertently caused.”

Earlier, the store had put up a statement alongside the image, claiming its intent was to “commend and honor” the individuals instrumental in the evolution of Havana cigars.

On this issue, Surrey Police clarified that, although no formal complaints had been lodged, they had reached out to discuss the situation with the shop’s proprietor.


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