Daisy’s Cafe in Looe has come under fire over a mini golliwog on display at the premises (Image: BPM MEDIA)

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A cafe owner has denied being a racist after a complaint about a mini golliwog on display at her premises.

Fay Bates, who runs Daisy’s Cafe in Looe, Cornwall, acknowledged that she is 'a bit old school' and has lost track of 'what you can and can't say' in modern times.

However, she defended the two-inch doll, arguing it 'blends' into the background of the cafe and has caused more joy than offence, CornwallLive reports.

The businesswoman has insisted she is not a racist, saying: "I'm from Leicester which is a multicultural city and have had people from all over the world in this cafe."

Fay said she started receiving abuse after a young woman complained about the offensive figure, which was located in a flowerpot in the cafe.

She added: “This has been blown out of all proportion. The hospitality industry is struggling for staff because people are being abused whilst working on minimum wage.

The offensive figure was sat in a flowerpot in the cafe

“If it (the golliwog) is offending anybody I’ll happily remove it. It’s been here 13 years and never offended thousands of people. It just blends into the background with the other items that have brought people lots of nostalgic happiness.

“I have hundreds of 70s items in the café and it’s all given people more joy than it has offended people.

"The last thing I want to do is offend people but I wanted to stand up to this person (referring to a now deleted Facebook post in response to the incident and hate mail) who abused a hard-working and long-serving member of staff.”

She added that no one has complained about the golliwog until now.

Fay claims she is facing an onslaught of messages and even, she says, "hate mail", with posts and comments about the figure spreading on social media.

A picture of a golliwog Fay Bates has at home, which is similar to the one in the cafe
(Image: BPM MEDIA)

The businesswoman claims the issue started when a young woman took exception to the doll and was 'verbally abusive' to a member of staff.

She added that she has since received hate mail on Facebook from a man from Wales calling her a racist, who she has never seen in her café before.

Fay is not sure if the woman who complained in the café and the man who has sent her messages on Facebook, know each other.

She added: “I don’t know how someone can attack a family business like that. We’ve grafted for 13 years and are number one in TripAdvisor for the area but someone is trying to wipe me out overnight. It’s just vindictive and I’ve never had a problem with anyone before.

“I’m 54, a bit old school and lose track of what you can and can’t say but all this person had to do was ask nicely for it to be removed and I would have done so.

“I’m really not racist. I’m from Leicester which is a multicultural city and have had people from all over the world in this café.

"My post on Facebook was merely pointing out that hospitality is struggling more than ever this year for staff because of abusive customers and no other industry has to tolerate this and neither would I.

"Next thing I am bombarded with nasty messages from someone I do not know judging my character and implying I'm a racist for not removing the item that thousands of people over the 13 years have found nostalgic along with all the other 70s items and there are lots."