Pensioner repaints black figure white after neighbour 'calls it racist'

The face of a black figure on a totem pole in a pensioner’s garden in Suffolk has been repainted white over a ‘woke’ complaint it was racist.

Brian Connery was reported to the police over the colourful 10ft wooden feature in his front garden in Brantham.

The extraordinary yellow pole features a number of birds as well as a person in a blue suit with a black face.

A resident said: ‘It is pretty clearly meant to be a negro figure, wearing a tuxedo and cravat/bow tie, dressed like a blackface minstrel, golliwog or similar figure, so fairly 20th century.

‘That’s not an American Indian symbol, nor as abstract as any such symbols might be. It is what it looks like. And it’s meant to be offensive.’

Mr Connery, a fan of Native American culture, was visited by officers investigating whether a hate crime had been committed.

They recorded it as ‘a possible public order offence, due to the visual representation which caused alarm and distress to members of the public’, Shortley Peninsula Nub News reported.

Following discussions with police, the owner, who drives a pick up truck decorated with pictures of bison and Indian chiefs, repainted the face.

He said: ‘That is the agreement I had. All I want to say is that someone made a complaint it was racist, and I repainted it white, and that’s it.

‘The police were happy with it. Everyone was happy with it. They were happy with it before it was white.

‘My neighbours have been supportive. There have been 93 comments on Facebook and none of them were against me. It is just that somebody is woke.’

Brantham residents, including his nextdoor neighbour Marion, gave their support to Mr Connery.

She said: ‘Brian has lots of different flags that he flies. Right now, he is flying the England flag, but sometimes he has American ones.

‘He was flying the England fan during the Euros football tournament and he had it at half mast when Prince Philip died.’

A spokesperson for Suffolk Police said: ‘Police are aware of the concerns raised by members of the public and are engaging with the homeowner regarding the matter.’

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