The owners of a shop have been accused of racism for selling “immigrant bags” advertised on a sign with a black man singing “zippadydoohdah”.
The offensive hand-drawn poster shows the cartoon man holding two pieces of luggage and the words: “zippadydoohdah zip-up immigrant bags 1.50.”
Critics claim the sign in the window of Benefactors Hardware in Crowborough, East Sussex, is clearly racist and xenophobic – and does not represent the views of the town.
Charles Hendry, MP for the Wealden constituency the shop is in, called for it to be removed.
The Conservative member said: “These comments don’t reflect the views of the overwhelming majority of people in Crowborough, who are friendly and welcoming.
“I hope the sign will have been removed immediately and an apology given for the offence it has caused.”
Local Councillor Sylvia Tidy added: “I have to say I am appalled.
“Crowborough is not a racist town and I fully understand other people’s disgust.
“I will ensure the police are notified if they have not been already.”
The racist cartoon is said to have been on display for around a week in the shop’s window.
The sign was first spotted by Nick Harvey, a music composer who has worked on television show My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.
The composer posted the sign on Twitter and said: “There’s a hardware store in Crowborough, E Sussex called Benefactors. Please don’t shop there.”
A following tweet says: “Since moving to Crowborough a year ago, a couple of people have told me of its racist underbelly, but nothing could prepare me for that.”
He later posted that his wife had spotted the sign over a week ago.
Another local, Gareth Owen-Williams, took to the social media site to say: “The guy who runs Benefactors in the town centre is a well known eccentric and maybe a racist. He does not represent Crowborough.”
Former Conservative MP Louise Mensch, who is originally from the area, also defended her home town on Twitter.
She said: “Am from Wadhurst and Rotherfield. Never encountered any racists. This person/shop not representative. Disgusting.”
A spokeswoman from East Sussex Police said: “Police received a call shortly before 6pm on Wednesday (15 August) to a report of a racist sign in a shop window.
“Officers visited the shop on Thursday morning and the shop was shut, however attempts are being made to get hold of the owner to speak to them and ask them to remove the sign.
“We will then investigate to see if any offences have been committed.”
The owners of Benefactors Hardware were yesterday (Thurs) unable to be reached for a response.