Farrants Cobham In Racism Row
Farrants Cobham is facing calls to remove a poster showing "broken black men" on a tobacco plantation
Many of us know and love Farrants, regularly visit the shop and receive fantastic customer service from the owner and staff.
However, recently the local village shop has been subject to accusations that one of its displays is "..triggering and racist..."
Farrants is facing calls to remove a poster showing "broken black men" on a tobacco plantation.
In a video shared on social media, Misan Harriman said the signage behind the counter at Farrants in Cobham, Surrey, was "triggering and racist".
"There is no conceivable reason it should be there," he said.
The shop said the image was displayed to "honour, respect and recognise" those involved in the development of Havana cigars.
Farrants sells a selection of confectionary, greetings cards, newspapers and toys, as well as hosting its own tobacco room, which offers cigars and tobacco.
The image appears to show black people working on a tobacco plantation overseen by white men, which the store said was taken at Pinar del Rio plantation in Cuba in 1907 - 21 years after the abolishment of slavery in the country.
A statement from Farrants displayed next to the image in the shop said: "This image was selected as the main display in our store to honour, respect and recognise the ground-breaking work undertaken by all those involved in the development of the iconic Havana cigars available in our tobacco room today.
"Unlike other crop harvesting industries, the tobacco plantation owners of Cuba refused to use slave labour, insisting instead on employing free men."
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Mr Harrison, the chairman of London's Southbank Centre and a photographer who has taken portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, said he was shopping for children's toys when he saw the image.
"There is a massive picture that is pride of place at the point of payment. It's an image of black men, broken black men, at a tobacco plantation with their overseers next to them. I kid you not," he said.
"This is in a family store. This imagery is massively triggering and racist. I'm so thankful I wasn't with my girls.
"How on earth could anyone have shopped there and found that image acceptable. This is exhausting and damaging to many people."
Former Chelsea footballer and current assistant coach for the England men's national team Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had complained in 2020 about the same image.
Mr Hasselbaink said on Instagram that he had contacted Farrants' owner David Worsfold three years ago and was told the store would "replace" the image.
However, in another video on social media, Mr Harriman said that it was irrelevant if the image actually displayed indentured servants or slaves.
"Indentured servitude happened for decades after any kind of emancipation or end of slavery," he said.
"Many history books have covered it and the power dynamic of those two white men who dressed very cleanly, look very comfortable, next to the broken, soulless, black men that are actually working that plantation.
"The optics, that dynamic, that power dynamic, is there clear as day."
A representative of Farrants said they would not be commenting.
"As a family we refuse to go into this shop until this painful image is removed," he said.