Thursday, January 24, 2013

Turkish Group Accuses Lego of Racism Over Star Wars Toy

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was the worlds greatest Byzantine cathedral until the marauding, imperialist Ottomans converted it to a mosque in the 15th century. In the early 20th century it was turned into a museum, although religious Muslims  want it turned back into a mosque. But I digress. Now Turks in Austria are complaining that Lego's 'Jabba's Palace' toy is racist and offensive to Muslims because the building looks like their Hagia Sophia  mosque, conveniently or stupidly forgetting that the structure was originally a church, and more importantly based on the original Star Wars film structureso, obviously not racist at all.

Jabba's Palace in Star Wars

The toy includes the 'palace' that the character Jabba the Hutt- from the Star Wars series- resides in, along with a watchtower.  They also believe it resembles the Jami al-Kabir mosque in Beirut.

Apparently the outrage and backlash started after a Turkish man's son received the toy as a gift.

After investigating, Dr Melissa Günes, General Secretary of the Turkish Cultural Community, said that Lego had been contacted with an official complaint.

They have also taken offense to being shown as "deceitful and criminal personalities", and want an apology form Lego "for its cultural insensitivity".

A statement posted on the organisation's website refers to Jabba the Hutt as a 'terrorist' and says that he 'likes to smoke hookah and have his victims killed'.

It adds: 'It is clear that the ugly figure of Jabba and the whole scene smacks of racial prejudice and vulgar insinuations against Asians and Orientals as people with deceitful and criminal personalities.'

The statement says that the figures in the set are made to resemble 'terrorists, criminals and murderers'.

Referring to weapons contained in the set, the statement suggests that the 'combination of temple building and bunker facilities where shots are fired cannot be appropriate for children between 9 and 14 years old'.

They will sue if they don't get an apology.

Lego's response:

Lego's Katharina Sasse said: 'The Lego Star Wars product Jabba´s Palace does not reflect any actually existing buildings, people, or the mentioned mosque.

'The Lego mini-figures are all modelled on characters from the movie.

'We regret that the product has caused the members of the Turkish cultural community to come to a wrong interpretation, but point out that when designing the product only the fictional content of the Star Wars saga were referred to.'

These people really need to get thicker hides. It's not always about them. It's a game, for goodness sake. And why were they not offended back when Jabba first appeared in the George Lucas films?

No comments: