Some Turkish leaders are offended by a Lego Star Wars set, claiming it resembles a famous mosque.
The Turkish Cultural Community of Austriasaid in a statement
that a Lego set of Jabba's Palace from the Star Wars series is racist
because it appears to closely resemble the Hagia Sophia (formerly a
mosque) in Istanbul, the Jami al-Kabir mosque in Beirut and a minaret
and therefore reinforces negative stereotypes about the Middle East,
according to the Austrian Times. The statement threatened legal action
against Lego if it does not withdraw the toys.
"The terrorist Jabba the Hutt likes to smoke a hookah and have his victims killed," a statement on their website reads, according to the Telegraph. The statementalso claims that the characters look sinister and do evil things, such as keep slaves and commit murder.
(Scroll down for a picture of the Lego set)
Lego denies the charges. "The Lego Star Wars product Jabba's Palace
does not reflect any actually existing buildings, people, or the
mentioned mosque," Katharina Sasse, a spokesperson for Lego, told the Telegraph.
Jabba the Hutt, for the uninitiated, is one of Star Wars' villains.
He kept Han Solo frozen, tried to kill Luke Skywalker and, for a time,
kept Princess Leia as his slave (fans will never forget her gold
bikini). Luke and his allies ultimately freed Han Solo and Princess Leia
and killed Jabba and his minions.
This is not Lego's first brush with racism accusations either. The artist Chris McVeigh claimed in 2010 that almost all non-white Lego faces scowl, according to Wired. The Wired article claims that Lego's toy sets based on Hollywood movies also highlight the racism already apparent in Hollywood casting.
Check out Lego's depiction of Jabba's Palace below:
So some leaders in a different country now want to tell us how to make our kids toys? We, maybe, shouldn't be building or making anything with a round type roof or a tower because it might offend someone half a world away? Some people need to get past looking for something to be offended about and focus the energy wasted there on accomplishing something positive. In the case of leaders, maybe find something that would actually be of benefit to their people.