Did LEGO cave to critics, or was this just a case of weird timing?
You might remember this story from a few months ago: The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria publicly complained that LEGO's 2012 release of a Return of the Jedi Jabba's Palace playset (pictured above) was racist, because it was the home of a "terrorist" (Jabba) and it bore a resemblance to the Jami' al-Kabir mosque. The TCCA claimed that because the building was home to Jabba, and because it was adorned with various laser cannons and other assorted weaponry, it implied that anyone associated with the similar-looking mosque was a terrorist. At the time, LEGO released a statement pointing out that the design of the playset merely reflected the original design from the Star Wars film, which was released 30 years ago, and kept right on selling the product. Now LEGO is pulling the playset from production, and the TCCA is claiming it's because they spoke out.
Birol Kilic, head of the TCCA, told NBC News that the group met with LEGO representatives last week, and that the company agreed to remove the offending toy from stores.
“This does not belong in children’s bedrooms,” Kilic said. “And the minaret-like tower features machine guns. Children will become insensitive to violence and other cultures.”
But according to LEGO, that's not the case. The company often offers products for a limited time and then ceases production to make room for new toys. According to LEGO's official Twitter account, that's exactly what's happening with Jabba's Palace, and the timing just happened to coincide with the TCCA complaint.
@mailonline Decision to terminate "Jabba's Palace" end 2013 was taken before its launch in 2012 & before the criticism from this Community— The LEGO Group (@LEGO_Group) April 1, 2013
So, who do you believe here? Did LEGO cave to avoid further protests, or is the TCCA just trying to falsely claim a win? Either way, if you want the Jabba's Palace set for yourself, you'd better go snag one before they leave LEGO stores.
(Via Huffington Post)