Shop remove tobacco plantation image after being accused of racism

Shop remove tobacco plantation image after being accused of racism
Tobacco plantation image in Surrey shop leaves royal photographer 'speechless'

A shop has removed a poster showing black men on a tobacco plantation after facing racism allegations.

Farrants in Cobham, Surrey, sells sweets, cards, newspapers, toys and has a room dedicated to tobacco products. An image behind the counter in this room appeared 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 abolition of slavery in the country.

In a video shared on social media on Tuesday, Misan Harriman, the chairman of London's Southbank Centre and a photographer who has taken portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, said a sign behind the counter was "triggering and racist".

"There is no conceivable reason it should be there," he said.

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He said that it was irrelevant if the image actually displayed indentured servants or slaves.

He said: "It's an image of black men, broken black men, at a tobacco plantation with their overseers next to them. I kid you not."

Following the complaint, in a statement posted on Instagram, Farrants said: "The image that has caused offence has been removed.

"We apologise unreservedly for any and all distress that it caused."

A statement previously displayed next to the image in the shop said it was displayed to "honour, respect and recognise" those involved in the development of Havana cigars.

Surrey Police told the BBC that while no formal reports had been made, officers had spoken with the shop's owner.

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