Lego is being accused of racism, because its "Star Wars" Jabba the Hutt Palace playset resembles the Hagia Sophia, one of the most revered mosques in the world. The Austrian Turkish community is outraged, because the Lego playset comes equipped with explosives and linked to a character that they call a “terrorist.”
The Turkish cultural community in Austria believes Lego's Jabba the Hutt Palace is racist and offensive, because the playset resembles a holy site and associates the Hagia Sophia with violence. In the statement, the group explains that the playset associates criminals and violence -- accessories include rifles -- with a place for prayer. According to the group, there would be the same level of outrage if Lego produced a playset that resembled a cathedral but instead of priests and a place of worship, the cathedral came equipped with criminals with weapons.
In the “Star Wars” movies, Jabba the Hutt is a giant slug alien that's a gangster, an overlord of the black market who captures Princess Leia and enslaves her. Jabba has placed a bounty on Han Solo because of owed money and is seen in many scenes in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.”
According to the Turkish cultural group, Jabba the Hutt is a “terrorist,” and the Lego playset is full of racial prejudice and stereotypes. The playset casts Asians and Muslims as “sneaky,” “murderers,” “leaders of criminal organizations” and “slaveholders.” The group also calls the inclusion of trapdoors, rockets, cannons, lasers, shotguns and samurai swords as “questionable.” The cultural group plans on suing Lego.
Lego has responded to the allegations in a statement saying, “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.”
Lego argues that the playset is meant to recreate fictional characters and a location of an established film franchise.
Speaking of the racism allegations, Lego says, “The Lego Group regrets that the product has caused the members of the Turkish cultural community to interpret it wrongly but point out that the design of the product only refers to the fictional content of the 'Star Wars' saga.”