Woman Receives Abuse After Criticising Pub Staff For Wearing Blackface And KKK Outfits
BuzzFeed News spoke to Nisha Damji about the controversy that led to her receiving a sexually abusive message on Facebook.
A pub in Brixton has caused outrage after photos of the landlord wearing blackface and another staff member wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit and giving a Nazi salute were shared on Facebook.
Local Brixton resident Nisha Damji first drew attention to the incident in a blog post criticising the Queen’s Head Pub photos, which were taken at a Halloween party. She wrote:
Let's be honest, I've never been a fan of The Queen's Head pub, Brixton. It's just not my cup of tea. However, I was really shocked to see pictures of their Halloween party on social media over the weekend.
In the pictures, the man who runs the place is blacked up as a witch doctor arm in arm with one of the bar staff who is hooded and cloaked in a Ku Klux Klan style outfit. I wondered if they were about to stage a mock lynching. In another image the 'Klansman' is shown sieg heiling, giving the Nazi salute.
I took a screen shot of the images, which had captions such as the "Queen's Head opens up to the dark side" and "in the best possible taste", and posted them on my facebook account. The telling captions are a clear indication of the controversial nature of the images.
After criticising the photos, Damji received a sexually abusive message from one of the moderators of the Queen's Head Pub Facebook page calling her a "bitch" and telling her to "suck my dick".
Damji told BuzzFeed News she was appalled to receive the comment, especially on Facebook.
"Women speak out about things on social media and then they get sexual language used against them, and it seems to have been done so casually in this case," she said.
"To be called names and be threatened with sexual violence is an awful way to respond to someone who essentially was just asking legitimate questions about what these people were doing."
The landlord shown in the photo, Simon Tickner, has since apologised in an interview with the BBC, calling it an "absurdist joke".
He denied posting the abuse, describing it as "just hip-hop language." He added that his "best friend's a black klansman" and that he was sorry for offending people.
He also noted that Brixton was a culturally diverse neighbourhood, and described his pub as "one of the most multi-racial pubs in Brixton."
Damji had a message for those who dismissed the photos as silly Halloween fun.
"You can dress up as a witch doctor without blacking up," she told BuzzFeed News. "Skin colour isn't a costume. Halloween isn't an excuse. Blackface has a really unpleasant history and caricatures black people in a really degrading way. You can't separate the history from its use today. It's just not funny."