LOS ANGELES — Reimagining the slave narrative should be left to the professionals. That was the word Friday when the Weinstein Co. announced that it has asked toymaker NECA to discontinue the “Django Unchained” action figure dolls after receiving complaints that the dolls were offensive and trivialized the horrors of slavery.
According to the studio, action figures for all of Tarantino’s films have been made, including those for “Inglourious Basterds,” which featured figurines of Christoph Waltz as Nazi Col. Hans Landa and Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine.
The “Django” figurines, which feature 8-inch versions of plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), slave-turned-freeman Django (Jamie Foxx), dentist-turned-bounty-hunter Dr. King Schultz (Waltz), house servant Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) and slave Broomhilda von Shaft (Kerry Washington), were produced as a matter of course.
The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network declared the dolls offensive and called for a national boycott of them, while Naji Ali, director of the civil rights organization Project Islamic Hope, called for their removal in a news conference: “I actually enjoyed the movie, but we cannot support this type of commercialization.”
The Weinstein Co. responded with this statement: “In light of the reaction to the ‘Django Unchained’ action figures, we are removing them from distribution. We have tremendous respect for the audience and it was never our intent to offend anyone.
“They were meant to be collectibles for people 17 years and older, which is the audience for the film.”
“Django Unchained” has earned close to $130 million in the U.S. since it opened on Christmas Day. Despite the controversial subject matter, the film has become Tarantino’s highest-grossing movie of his career.