- (Photo: http://www.djangounchained.org)
The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network has joined a number of angry voices in asking why companies are developing and distributing action figures from Quentin Tarantino's gory slavery-era new R-rated film "Django Unchained."
"Selling this doll is highly offensive to our ancestors and the African American community," said the Rev. K.W. Tulloss, the president of Rev. Al Sharpton's group, according to the New York Daily News.
"The movie is for adults, but these are action figures that appeal to children. We don't want other individuals to utilize them for their entertainment, to make a mockery of slavery," Tulloss added.
Others, like Najee Ali, director of the Los Angeles civil rights group Project Islamic Hope, said that the action figures "trivialize the horrors of slavery," and that they were "a slap in the face of our ancestors."
"Django Unchained" has attracted plenty of controversy both for its portrayal of African-Americans in a time of slavery, and for its frequent violence that many say exceeds even conventional Tarantino films. The action figures were produced by the National Entertainment Collectibles Association and the Weinstein Company, the producers behind the film.
The 2012 action western, which stars Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo Di Caprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson, was released on Christmas Day and deals with the adventures of a freed slave, played by Foxx, who travels across America in a mission to find his wife.
The film came out less than two weeks after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, where 20 children and six other school employees were shot dead by a lone 20-year old gunman, sending America into mourning. After some critics blamed violent entertainment for creating a dangerous culture, Tarantino defended his movies and said they cannot be blamed for tragedies like Newtown. An early premiere in L.A. of "Django" was cancelled just days after the shooting.
The movie director insisted also that his depiction of the plight of African-Americans in slavery was tame in comparison to the atrocities that really happened.
"The truth, or the reality, was a thousand times worse than what I showed," Tarantino said at a film premiere in Germany, according to E Online.
Ali of Project Islamic Hope commented that while he liked the movie, making action figures of the main characters goes a bit too far.
"I actually enjoyed the movie, but we cannot support this type of commercialization," Ali said. " Tarantino and Weinstein didn't have action figures for their movie 'Inglorious Basterds' because they know the Jewish community would never allow it, and the African-American community shouldn't allow anyone to disrespect our ancestors."