The LEGO Group has responded to criticism of its Star Wars Jabbas Palace set, released last year.
Members of the Austrian Turkish Cultural Community complained that the set looks too similar to the famous Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul. The group accused LEGO of racism, and said the set depicted Asians as having 'deceitful and criminal personalities'.
Reacting to the criticism on its official website, LEGO said that while it regrets the toy has 'caused members of the Turkish cultural community to interprete it wrongly', the product only refers to 'the fictional content of the Star Wars saga'
"The product is however not based on any real building but on a fictional building from a scene in the movie Star Wars Episode VI," said LEGO.
See the full response below.
"All LEGO Star Wars products are based on the movies of the Star Wars saga created by Lucasfilm. Jabba's Palace appears in Star Wars Episode VI and appears in a famous scene on the planet Tatooine. The building is the palace of Jabba - a fictional movie character.
The picture shown above depicts the building from the movie scene. The LEGO designers try to reproduce all buildings, space ships and characters from the movies as close as possible when creating a new LEGO Star Wars product.
This is done to allow both young and old Star Wars fans to act out the scenes from the movies at home. The LEGO Star Wars product Jabba´s palace does not reflect any non-fictional buildings, people, or the mentioned mosque.
The LEGO minifigures shown on the box and found inside the box (Jabba, Salacious Crumb, Bib Fortuna, Gamorreanic Guard, Oola, Han Solo, Princess Leia disguised as Boushh, Chewbacca and B'omarr Monk) are all modeled after fictional characters from the movie.
The LEGO Group regrets that the product has caused the members of the Turkish cultural community to interprete it wrongly, but point out that the design of the product only refers to the fictional content of the Star WarsTM saga."
Below: Jabba's Palace as seen in Star Wars episode VI: Return of the Jedi and the LEGO set which caused offense.
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