Royal photographer and former footballer lead outcry at Surrey shop's 'racist' sign showing black men picking tobacco

9 August 2023, 12:11 | Updated: 9 August 2023, 12:18

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Misan Harriman have led calls for the sign to be taken down
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Misan Harriman have led calls for the sign to be taken down. Picture: Instagram/Getty

By Kit Heren

A shop in a leafy Surrey village has sparked outrage with a sign showing black men picking tobacco while watched by white overseers.

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The sign is behind the till of the tobacco section at Farrants, a longstanding independent supermarket in Cobham, south-west of London, near to the Chelsea training ground.

Former Chelsea footballer Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Southbank Centre chief Misan Harriman, who photographed Harry and Meghan's Frogmore House celebrations for Lilibet's first birthday are among those to have criticised the shop for displaying the sign.

Mr Hasselbaink said he had asked the shop to take the sign down three years ago.

He said on Instagram: "This needs some attention... I think it’s time you followed through on your word from 2020 and replaced this image".

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Mr Hasselbaink said in a separate post that "the image continues to cause hurt to people in our local community, and now further afield."

Misan Harriman, also known for photographing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, came across the sign this week.

He said that he went to Farrants to get some toys for his children.

Sharing a video on Twitter, Mr Harriman said: "There is a MASSIVE picture that is pride of place at the point of payment. It is an image of black men, broken black men at a tobacco plantation with their overseers next to them?!?! I kid you not!

"This is in a family store, this imagery is massive triggering and racist. And there is no conceivable reason it should be there! I’m so thankful I wasn’t with my girls.

Misan Harriman also called for the sign to be taken down
Misan Harriman also called for the sign to be taken down. Picture: Getty

"How on earth could anyone have shopped there and found that image acceptable.

"This is exhausting and damaging to many people."

Others said they have been asking shop bosses to take down the sign for some time.

Replying to Mr Hasselbaink's post, one woman said: "I have also spoken to them and none of us will go into the shop because of it. The image is completely unacceptable and we must keep pushing them to take it down.

"There's so many beautiful pictures in the world to choose from but yet they choose this".

Farrants, which has been trading since 1896, declined to comment when asked by LBC why they chose to display the picture.