A few days ago, we reported that the Weinstein Company had toy manufacturer NECA pull toys of Quentin Tarantino’s film Django Unchained following complaints from the Rev. Al Sharpton’s people, which massively drove up the prices on eBay. Well, now you can’t even get them there.
TMZ reports that the “slave toys” have been pulled from eBay, who’s sent out an email to sellers saying that “Since the manufacturer of this product has discontinued the item’s sale due to its potentially offensive nature, we are not allowing it to be sold on eBay.”
TMZ goes on to say that eBay has warned sellers not to relist the toys, and that an eBay spokesman told the news site that "These [toys] were removed as they were in violation of our Offensive Materials policy."
Given that sets of the toys were already selling for up to $4,500 on eBay before the auctions were pulled, it’s anyone’s guess what they’ll go for now that they’re even more scarce. On a hunch, we did a craigslist search and found some places selling them for up to $700 a figure. Put bluntly: If you have a set and need a college fund…
The controversy is particularly strange given that there have been toys based on Tarantino’s films marketed to adult collectors for years with little to no complaints, including toys of the Nazis and Nazi-killing Jews from Inglorius Basterds from Sideshow Hot Toys – which were released without any major controversy – and that’s not counting years of Nazi toys in military doll lines.
Ever see the “War Criminals of the 20th Century” line of toys, including Adolph Hitler and Fidel Castro? There’ve even been some toys featuring Osama Bin Laden, including this “Kill Bin Laden” figurine set, featuring Barack Obama putting a bullet in Bin Laden’s head. Racist or sociopathic characters – even from real life – are no stranger to appearing in plastic form, but there’s rarely been the level of vitriol raised by the Django toys.
The biggest questions raised by the Django Unchained incident involve the separation of toys for “adult collectors” and toys intended for children. It’s not unusual to see realistic figures based on characters from R-rated movies a few aisles down from the Legos at a Toys R Us – but it’s also a statement about how the audience for toys isn’t just young children any more.
Just as comic books and cartoons ran into controversy as they featured more adult content, it seems like action figures and dolls are going to be under scrutiny for more than just being expensive.
What do you make of this controversy?