"Golly Costume" pictures taken down following Advertising Standards Authority ruling


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The Independent Online

Jokers' Masquerade, a fancy dress online retailer, has been ordered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to take down the pictures of its "golly" costumes from its website.

The ASA found the depiction of the costume to be racist. It ruled the pictures had to be taken down from the website under rule 4.1 of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code, which stipulates "marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence."

Jokers' Masquerade is a trading name of Abscissa.Com Ltd; the company, registered in England, responded to the ASA, saying "it was not their intention to offend".

They further claimed the media had been "sensationalising a new theme of 'bad taste fancy dress'" in the past year. The "golly costume" had already caught the media's attention back in November 2013, after it came to light the fancy dress costume could be purchased from online retailer Amazon.

Abscissa.Com questioned whether "the complainant objected to the ad itself, or to the fact that the item was on sale at all."

Jokers' Masquerade's website features a "bad taste" section, however the ASA remarked the "golly costume" did not feature under that category on the site. Furthermore, the ASA ruled the images present on the site had connotations of "negative racial stereotypes that the character represented."


The costume is still present on the merchant's site and it comes in two versions - an adult and a "Golly Doll" version. The pictures have been taken off the site, instead the products are represented with grey silhouettes.

On the page, Jokers' Masquerade notes that it is "at present in dialogue with the ASA 'Copy Advice Team'" to find a new way to present the costumes. And while the product may not be presented with photographs, an Instagram Gallery is featured at the end of the page, showing customers displaying their clothing.