Removal of Robert Milligan statue prompts call to ‘boycott’ Sainsbury’s

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Sainsbury’s has unwittingly found itself facing backlash following the removal of a statue of a slave trader in London, with calls for the supermarket chain to be boycotted.

Lord Sainsbury, whose great-grandfather founded the chain, has been blamed by some on social media for the removal of the Robert Milligan statue in West India Quay.null

The statue was removed after the Canal and River Trust charity, which owns the land where it was located, said it would organise its “safe removal” following a petition launched by local Labour councillor.

The Standard has contacted the Museum of London for a comment.

The statue of the noted West Indian merchant, slaveholder and founder of London’s global trade hub, West India Docks, had stood outside the Museum of London Docklands.

With #BoycottSainsburys trending on Twitter, some people were delighted that “racist” people who were angry about the removal of the statue would be avoiding the supermarkets.

One user said: “Can we get a full list of everywhere racists are boycotting please? Imagine a world where you no longer have to encounter a single one of them.”

Another added: “So let me get this straight. People are going to #BoycottSainsburys because Lord Sainsbury has urged statues of slave owners to be taken down? Are these people actually for real?”

Tweeting a video of the moment the Milligan statue was taken down, London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “It’s a sad truth that much of our wealth was derived from the slave trade – but this does not have to be celebrated in our public spaces.”

In a series of posts on Twitter, the Museum of London said: “The statue of Robert Milligan has stood uncomfortably outside the Museum of London Docklands for a long time, one of only three museums in the UK to address the history of the transatlantic slave trade.

“The Museum of London recognises that the monument is part of the ongoing problematic regime of white-washing history, which disregards the pain of those who are still wrestling with the remnants of the crimes Milligan committed against humanity.”

A spokesman for the museum told the Standard: “The Museum of London advocated for the removal of the Robert Milligan statue working closely with Tower Hamlets Council and the Canal and River Trust who are the local authority and the land owner respectively.

“This decision was made independently of our sponsors and donors.”

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