Marking victory for several African American groups, The Weinstein Co. has asked a toy maker NECA to discontinue a line of controversial “Django Unchained” action figures after receiving complaints that they were offensive. As if the film itself, which scored writer-director Quentin Tarantino and actor Christoph Waltz Golden Globes for best screenplay and best supporting actor (respectively), didn’t attract enough heat, the accompanying doll collection managed to piss off notable civil rights groups, including Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and Project Islamic Hope. Additionally, a Change.org petition to stop the sale of the dolls began circling shortly after news of the collection broke and has since garnered nearly 19,000 signatures.
The studio said Friday that such collectibles have been created for all of director Quentin Tarantino’s films, including “Inglourious Basterds,” and that they were meant for people 17 and older, the audience for the film. “Django Unchained” is a violent mix of spaghetti Western and blaxploitation genres about a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) who becomes a bounty hunter. Civil rights groups argued that the toys trivialized the horrors of slavery.
“We have tremendous respect for the audience and it was never our intent to offend anyone,” The Weinstein Co. said in a statement. Toy maker NECA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sources say that the company produced only about 1,000 figures before pulling the plug.
Designed as replicas of the western slave revenge tale’s unforgettable characters, the dolls came clad in tailored clothing and armed with weaponry. Django (Jamie Foxx), Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson)—the gang was all there, insulting many and begging the question: funny or offensive?
Following the announcment resellers flocked to sites like amazon.com and eBay where the figures have no skyrocketed in price, with certain figures (Django and Broomhilda) now going for over $400.