Greene King, a brewing company based in England, was scrambling for a new business name after 350 years due to controversial claims regarding the offensive meaning.
The Black Bitch, a pub in Linlithgow, West Lothian, which boldly represents the name of a black greyhound has been rebranded as The Willow Tree due to public pressures.
Not everyone supports this name change as locals interpreted the original name as more of a respectable identity than a contemptuous insult. The town native and ex-SNP first minister Alex Salmond said: “Whoever they consulted on this silliness certainly wasn’t local where the name Black Bitch is borne with pride as showing awareness and respect for Lithgae’s rich history.”
There was a petition circulating in the community with over 11,000 people signing off against the name change, which is a high number considering the town has approximately 12,800 residents.
Greene King’s statement read: “It was made clear to the council’s Development Management Committee both within the officer report and verbally at committee that it is not for the council to control the name of the premises and that there are no planning grounds for either advertisement consent or listed building consent being refused on this basis.”
According to the West Lothian History and Amenity Society, “Natives of Linlithgow are proud to be known as “Black Bitches”; it is a term of affection with no negative connotations. The term describes a female canine, rightly called a bitch which is black in color — nothing offensive, no misogyny involved. Greene King has jumped to the wrong conclusions and read something into the name which does not exist.”
Why are the brewers complicating things as the existing name is already so deeply loved by the community members? The Willow Tree sounds dull in comparison to The Black Bitch. If it doesn’t rub a few people in the wrong way, it’s not bold enough.