Race Controversy Dogs Tintin
With a feature film directed by Steven Spielberg in the works and an important sale of Tintin memorabilia going on in France, a Congolese student in Belgium is suing to ban one of the character’s most famous graphic novels, Tintin In The Congo.
REUTERS is reporting:
In Brussels, an increasingly heated court case is unfolding, brought by a Congo-born student who argues that one of the cartoon albums, “Tintin in the Congo,” is racist and should be banned or at least carry a warning on its cover.
“We say there is a work which shows the superiority of one race over another. This is inadmissible,” said lawyer Papis Tshimpangila who is taking part in the case.
The English language version of the album has been prefaced with a warning asking readers to see it within the context of its time.
Book shop Borders took it out of its children’s section in 2007 in Britain and the United States following a recommendation from the Commission for Racial Equality.
“We need to end the discrimination between people who speak English and people who speak French,” said Mbutu Mondondo Bienvenu, who has personally financed the legal bid in Belgium since it started in 2007.
“Even if I sell my shoes and all of my furniture, I think that the result is more important than material possessions,” he told reporters outside a court in Brussels earlier this month.
Moulinsart, the foundation which holds the Tintin copyright, has refused to place a warning on the 1931 book, saying there are many works that could be accused of discrimination.
“We think it’s not necessary to add such a warning. We would gladly do it if you put such a warning on Jules Verne’s novels, Charles Dickens’ novels,” said a spokesman.
Tintin’s famous creator, who worked under the name Herge, has also been accused of anti-semitism, having contributed cartoons to a newspaper authorized by the Nazis during the World War II occupation of France and Belgium.