Outrage over pub landlord's 'maggot infested kids' joke

Pub landlord sparks outrage with Facebook ‘joke’ offering local ‘starving, maggot infested, lice riddled kids’ a ‘jam sandwich workshop’ during half-term

  • Richard Dawson removed a joke he made regarding the free school meals row
  • He jokingly offered ‘starving, maggot infested kids’ a ‘jam sandwich workshop’
  • Pub landlord at Cricketers Arms in Baildon, near Bradford, faced criticism online
  • Ex-BBC anchor Christa Ackroyd said ‘I hope everyone treats you with disrespect’

A pub landlord has sparked outrage online after posting a ‘joke’ on Facebook offering ‘starving, maggot infested, lice riddled kids,’ a jam sandwich workshop during half-term.

Richard Dawson, owner of The Cricketers Arms in Baildon, near Bradford, made the joke amid the ongoing row over children being offered free meals over the school holidays.

While some saw it as a joke, others met it with fury online, including former BBC Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd describing it as ‘vile,’ adding: ‘I have never seen a post that leaves me as sickened.’ 

He initially refused to back down and delete the post following fury yesterday, but it has since disappeared from the Facebook page, the landlord said he had removed it ‘mainly due to the hate and anger posters were directing at each other’.

A spokesperson from the pub told MailOnline today: ‘He wasn’t going to delete it yesterday because he wasn’t willing to be bullied into backing down.

Richard Dawson joked about offering ‘maggot infested’ children a ‘jam sandwich workshop’ at his pub the Cricketers Arms in Baildon, near Bradford, prompting fury from some Facebook users, including a former BBC reporter who said it was ‘vile’

‘There’s been a full day of uproar to remove it. People have said what they think of it and Richard wants to draw a line under it.’ 

Mr Dawson previously defended the post as a joke, comparing it to comic Jimmy Carr.  

It read: ‘Please feel welcome to bring your starving, maggot-infested, lice-riddled kids to The Cricketers Arms Jam sandwich workshop.

‘In operation throughout half-term.’

Former BBC Look North anchor Christa Ackroyd replied: ‘However you read this it is not funny. It can never be a joke. It is vile. I hope everyone treats you with the same disrespect you have shown to others. I have never seen a post (joke or otherwise) that leaves me as sickened.’

Mr Dawson initially said he would not delete the post, but has now removed it, ‘mainly due to the hate and anger posters were directing at each other’

The post came amid growing pressure from Government to U-Turn on the issue and extend free school meals to cover holidays, as campaigned by Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford. 

The campaign has sparked a blame game within Government, as sources within Rishi Sunak’s Treasury department claimed Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had not asked for extra funding.

It was reported over the weekend that the Treasury had blocked the £20 million per week needed to roll out the scheme to cover future school holidays.  

But the suggestion that Mr Sunak was guilty of ‘parking the Treasury bus’ has prompted a furious response from the Chancellor’s allies who suspect Mr Williamson’s supporters may have briefed the story.   

Mr Dawson published a new post this morning, which read: ‘As per lots of people’s advice I have deleted yesterday’s post, mainly because of the hate and anger posters were directing at each other, but not before I’d let it run long enough for people to have their say. 

‘I didn’t get a chance to read many of the posts as I was working, but I did get a general flavour of the response.

He wrote: ‘Many felt it wasn’t really the Government’s job to be feeding school children during the holidays,’ adding ‘it seemed to me not wishing to do so was a reasonably valid point of view to hold’.  

In a new post today, Mr Dawson said it ‘wasn’t really the Government’s job to be feeding children during the holidays. His comments came amid pressure for a U-turn on the decision, while Rishi Sunak’s Treasury has rebuffed claims that it denied a plea for the £20m to extend free school meals

Replying to criticism on his original post, Mr Dawson said: ‘I won’t be deleting my post or any of the comments, if people want to buy into the concept that the government needs to be feeding people’s children this half term, that’s their business

‘My view is that the poor are being stigmatised and their supposed needs been used for political capital.

‘I see people on television making jokes about rape and genocide, if I can’t indulge in humour about non-existent, starving, maggot-infested kids without incurring the wrath of Baildon then so be it.’

He later added: ‘Jimmy Carr says horrendous things and gets away with it.

‘Bad taste, I don’t know, there’s a lot of emotions at the moment.

‘People joke about worse things.’

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