Aussie golliwog dolls banned for Oprah visit

Melbourne: Oprah Winfrey`s production company asked a Melbourne shop to remove golliwog "washerwoman" dolls from display fearing the talk-show queen would take offence, reports said Thursday.

The Dafel Dolls and Bear Shop was asked to take the "Mamee" dolls from its shelves ahead of a cocktail party there late Friday for 110 guests of Oprah`s "Ultimate Australian Adventure", the Herald Sun newspaper said.

Dressed in a maid costume with a scarf around its head, it was feared the doll would upset 56-year-old Winfrey, the report said, though it was unknown whether the talk-show host, who is black, would attend the doll shop event.

Golliwog dolls are considered offensive in the United States because of their links with slavery and racism.

A shop employee contacted by AFP denied any agreement had been entered into with Oprah`s production company, or that any cocktail party will take place.

"Don`t believe everything you hear," she said.

The incident follows a Jackson Five skit on an Australian television variety show last October featuring performers in black face-paint which incensed US celebrity guest Harry Connick Jr and sparked a racism furore.

Oprah is in Australia for an eight-day filming tour of her hit talk-show -- the first outside North America and a blockbuster end to its 25th and final season -- touching down on the Great Barrier Reef Tuesday.

She is due to visit the giant red Outback monolith, Uluru -- also known as Ayres Rock -- in Australia`s vast desert centre, Thursday, while her 302 North American audience members have been scattered across the country for experiences including surfing and winetasting.

They will reunite in Sydney at the weekend before recording two episodes of the Oprah Winfrey show on December 14 in the harbourfront forecourt of the Sydney Opera House.

Bureau Report

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