The character “Black Pete” is the counterpart to the Dutch version of Santa Claus and is played by white people in black face who wear afros.
Many Dutch people adore the character and claim that it’s inoffensive, while critics say the blackface character is a racist representation.
According to the Associated Press, The Council of State on Wednesday “overturned a lower court’s decision that Amsterdam municipality shouldn’t have allowed last year’s festive arrival of Sinterklaas in the city because Pete ‘forms a negative stereotyping of black people.'”
The Council of State “cannot and will not answer the question” of whether Black Pete breaches Dutch anti-discrimination law, ruled the court.
“I think a lot of people will be disappointed with that — supporters and opponents who were waiting for a judgment on what we should think of Black Pete,” said Wil Eikelboom, a lawyer for opponents of Pete.
“Black Pete” was immersed in controversy in 2013 when he was linked to Nelson Mandela after the freedom fighter’s passing.
A Dutch paper later apologized for linking Nelson Mandela’s passing to “Black Pete.”
The article tying Mandela to the black faced figure was up on De Telegraaf’s website for almost half an hour before outraged readers forced its removal.
In the article, Mandela’s passing was discussed along with the traditional Dutch celebration of Sinterklaas.
“There have been reactions abroad and in the Netherlands to the deαth of Nelson Mandela, which happened, of all things on Sinterklaas evening (with Zwarte Piet),” read the article.
“This should never have happened,” the newspaper said in a written apology.
“It is never appropriate to make jokes about sad events such as the deαth of people. Even if they are never intended for publication, there is a risk this might happen.”