Fury as man in ‘blackface’ Mr T costume wins pub’s prize for best fancy dress

A pub in Scotland has sparked furious reactions after it shared a photo of a man wearing ‘blackface’ as part of his Halloween costume.

The Staging Post in Airdrie posted the picture of the man known only as Dylan, dressed as the US actor Mr T, holding a cash prize for winning their fancy dress competition on Saturday night.

A caption alongside the image said: "And the winner is our very own Mr T xx well done Dylan xx."

The photograph has since been taken down from the pub’s Facebook page.

Elaine Austin-Hartwell, 54, who is of Caribbean English heritage, was among those offended by the photo and claims that, upon trying to speak to the business about it on Facebook, she received a number of responses telling her to “lighten up” and “get over herself.”

The 54-year-old, who lives in Aberdeenshire, told the Daily Record: “We did try to talk to them, but we were mocked and blocked. The fact they (the business) posted the photo makes them responsible.

“It’s not even done well. There are so many other people he could have been, why did he have to choose Mr T?

"He could have worn gold chains, a mohawk, big muscles and people could say ‘that’s a white Mr T’ but he did not need to make it blackface and take it that far. We don’t have to put on the colour.

“It’s the mockery of it – it just needs to stop. People of colour have always been the butt of the joke in British humour.

“I feel like we don’t matter when people say things like ‘lighten up’ or ‘get over it.’ When you try to talk to someone about doing something racist, people turn round and attack you and say you are wrong.

“It’s just so wrong and rotten. I don’t want this pub to think this is okay and other pubs to then think it’s okay. I want it to stop.

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“This is 2021. If it was 1970 when people did not really understand, that would be different, but we have been deluged in the media, who have warned people at Halloween to not do this but they still do it and think it’s okay.”

A spokesperson for The Staging Post, Airdrie, said: “We’re hugely sorry. The competition was judged by a third-party and we took the photo off our Facebook page as soon as we were made aware.

“We pride ourselves on being an inclusive community pub at the heart of Airdrie, supporting a number of local charities and sports teams, and there is no room for any form of discrimination at The Staging Post.”

The man pictured in the photograph, named only as Dylan alongside the photo shared on Facebook, declined to comment when asked.

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