Promising to bring to an appropriately extreme climax the argument that Django Unchained trivializes slavery, The Weinstein Company has come under fire for selling a line of action figures based on Quentin Tarantino's Southern revenge romp—a line of little malleable people that you can buy, own, and bend repeatedly to your will, all in a sort of giant metaphor for something. The NECA-created collectibles were first announced last fall, but the growing controversy around the film seems to have inspired advocacy group Project Islamic Hope to unite with various "black community leaders" to call for them to be removed from the market, then set free to seek their own action figure fortunes.
In the words of PIH director Najee Ali, the 8-inch figurines—with their "authentic weapons and accessories" and Genuine Slave-Owning Action Grip—constitute "a slap in the face of our ancestors" and "trivialize the horrors of slavery," what with the whole slave-dolls-for-playtime thing. Of course, like nearly all NECA figures, the Django Unchained line isn't technically meant to be played with: It's intended for ages 15 and up, and the prohibitive cost of around $30 per figure suggests that these little people just aren't meant to be free. No, they're made to be kept penned up in their boxes, where you can look upon them every day and feel like a big man. Nevertheless, numerous reviewers on Amazon see the whole idea of selling slave dolls—whether you use them or just keep them cooped up in your house—as exploitative, and not in a fun, zippy, stylized way.
Naturally, the controversy definitely hasn't hurt sales, seeing as Amazon has already sold out of most of the figures, with some sellers now attempting to flip those for upwards of $200 as part of the cruel, inhuman business that is action figure trafficking. "So what you're telling me is, it worked," Harvey Weinstein is probably saying right now, fanning himself and smiling cruelly down at the action figure plantation toiling on his desk.