Online retailer Bol.com will ban products that reference Zwarte Piet or Black Pete, a character from a popular children’s holiday, it announced Wednesday.
The company will also drop ‘Black’ from the character’s name and will only refer to the character as “Piet” from late September.
Bol.com is a leading online store in the Netherlands and Belgium, where the winter tradition of Sinterklaas has come under fire for including a character called “Black Pete,” a blacked-up helper many see as a racist stereotype.
The retailer’s announcement comes in the wake of anti-racism protests that began in the U.S. after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by the police in May. The protests also spread through Europe, including Belgium and the Netherlands.
Bol.com said it will halt sales of books, movies or toys that depict or reference Black Pete as a “stereotypical caricature.” Costumes of the character will remain available on the condition that they don’t include caricatural elements such as a black wig, golden earrings or a ruff, it said.
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