A pub has apologised for hanging a "blackface" figure from a noose outside the premises as part of Halloween celebrations.

The Kings Head, in Great Cornard near Sudbury, Suffolk, denied the hanging man was "black-faced" and insisted it was an "inclusive" pub.

It also said it had not intended to "make light of suicide" after locals complained that the decoration was insensitive.

The boozer vowed to take down the figure by Thursday, although many regulars previously insisted it was just "a harmless it of fun".

However, local residents said it had potentially racist connotations due to a dark green football, which appears black, being used to represent its face.

Some claimed the mannequin resembled a black man being lynched, while others compared it to a minstrel caricature.

One resident described the image as 'sick and outrageous' (


East Anglia News Service)

In a Facebook post shared on Wednesday, the pub said: "The model is not black-faced; it doesn't have a face at all. Merely a football (green in fact)... we pride ourselves on being a inclusive, community pub.

"We completely accept the positioning could cause distress to others and acted as soon as this was pointed out.

"We never intended to cause anyone distress and wholeheartedly apologise to those we upset.

"There was no racial motive, or view to make light of suicide. It was merely a Halloween decoration linked to a theme.

"The display will be removed completely by tomorrow. Please just know that we never meant any offence and we're sorry we got this wrong."

Some said it looked an image of a black man being lynched (


East Anglia News Service)

The pub previously admitted it should not have hanged the figure by its neck and subsequently turned the model around so it was hanging by its feet instead.

One nearby resident who asked not to be named, said: "The image of a man hanging is sick and outrageous. It is incredibly insulting to anyone who has lost a loved one.

"But the fact that the figure has a black face with a boater hat, a black jacket and black leggings makes it reminiscent of a black minstrel caricature.

"I am sure that there was no intent to be racist or offensive, but it looked like an image of a black man being lynched."

The figure was strung up at the same time as the pub put out carved pumpkins above its doors, along with fake spider's webs over its windows and ghoulish bunting to publicise its Halloween party this Saturday.

One person said the black football topped with a boater hat made the figure reminiscent of a black minstrel caricature (


East Anglia News Service)

Many described it as "offensive" or "inappropriate" and a potential "trigger" for anyone mourning the loss of a loved one from suicide.

The post was later deleted and replaced with a new one showing the figure hanging by its feet instead of its neck.

Members of the group welcomed the move as a compromise to avoid causing offence to families of those who have taken their own lives.

One member said: "It wasn't a case of whinging. A life-size model of a man hanging from a sign by their neck is extremely insensitive and irresponsible considering the amount of people that hang themselves every year.

"I'm all up for a laugh, but not when it might make someone feel uncomfortable or traumatised. Thank you for changing this to something that is actually funny and not insensitive."

Another said: "Being 'offended' by something is totally different from being traumatised or mentally triggered by something.

Others said the figure was insensitive towards people who had taken their own lives (


East Anglia News Service)

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"Those taking the pee about something they are lucky never to have experienced are incapable of showing compassion and empathy for others. Let's hope one day they never have to go through what some of you have had to."

But another comment added: "The poor people that have been though losing someone this way, will hurt everyday anyways. It seems nowadays people look for things to be offended by."

A third said: "I had a friend hang herself, I also had a friend gas herself in her car. The Halloween decoration didn't trigger me as it's a decoration not a person. I don't hide away indoors in case I see a car."

Retired electrical contractor Ken Grimes, 83, who lives near the pub, said: "I wasn't offended by it at all. I just thought it was something to do with Halloween when I saw it hanging there.

"To be honest, I didn't notice that they had turned it around. I suppose it might have stopped people complaining."

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