Quentin Tarantino's latest film, Django Unchained, hasn't gone without its controversy. Although the movie has been received numerous nominations for best picture in 2012, it continues to receive criticism due to the elements of racism found in the film. As with any Tarantino film, there are toys. For the release of Django Unchained, NECA Toys grabbed the license and released 6 figures from the film. These toys were also unable to escape the controversy as due to pressure placed by various groups, they have since been removed from the marketplace.
The decision comes down from The Weinstein Company, the production company behind the film. After receiving complaints from Al Sharpton's National Action Network, the company instructed NECA to cease distribution. The President of the National Action Network detailed his reasoning as "Selling this doll is highly offensive to our ancestors and the African American community. The movie is for adults, but these are action figures that appeal to children."
What strikes me here is the defense of children. Whenever a toy intended for an older audience is made, children are brought up because all toys invariably appeal to children. NECA states that its Django figures were intended for those 17 and older, just as the film was, but that does not factor in to anyone's reaction to this. It's not the first time we've had to tackle this issue at Tomopop as this exact thing happened with toys from the Showtime series Dexter. The toys in this case don't really appeal to what is typical to attract children to it. The style used in these figures is pegged squarely at adults and vintage collectors who remember this type of figure.
In the case of Django however, the issue is race which makes this matter all the more complicated. As it is a toy, people have projected their views of the film onto the toy. I do not believe in any sense that a child would act out slavery actions because of these figures, but I understand those in the community who do not want such a dark part of our history trivialized as a children's playtime activity. As to what this action has done, it's only lining the pockets of those willing to sell their purchased Django figures. Figures are currently averaging $300 on eBay, and yes, those are with competitive bids.
Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments.
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