Following another protest outside the historic pub on Sunday in the rain, the Action group to Save the Black Bitch Name began its boycott to fight the brewer’s decision to change the Black Bitch Tavern to the Willow Tree, it says due to racist connotations in the name, which is part of local folklore.
Alistair Old, spokesperson for the action group, read out a statement at the protest on Sunday. He said: “The fact that this company has totally ignored the 12,000 signature petition is further proof that this company came here with one thing in mind, the removal of the Black Bitch sign at all costs.
“And there are costs, the damage to trade in the town for shops like Walkers carpets with their black bitch Whisky glasses, the Wee Mindin and Lilypond crafts with their range of Black Bitch jewellery and Quaiches.
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"These are just a small example of the many businesses in the town affected by this corporate bully’s actions in calling our Black Bitch offensive. Potentially jobs and livelihoods could be affected in the longer term.
"Their dogged determination to ignore the people of Linlithgow now means their former customers will vote with their feet and avoid their pubs and beers.
"This is not something we do lightly, we know this could harm the trade of the tenant leaseholder in the short term but Greene King’s refusal to withdraw their assertion that the pub’s name is offensive and their determination to change the name, leaves those whose views are being ignored with no other option but to show their displeasure by boycotting Greene Kings pubs and beers.”
A Greene King spokesperson said: “We respect the proud history of Linlithgow and listened to community feedback about our original choice of name, which is why we’re now renaming our pub to The Willow Tree to mark another important piece of local heritage.
"It has never been our intention to cause any upset but we cannot ignore that we’ve heard from many people, including people living in the town, who don’t feel comfortable with the existing name written on the front of a pub, even when the context is known.”