Django Unchained has been a controversial film to say the least. So it stands to reason that action figures based on the film would be equally controversial. Not that reason has much place in this conversation.
NECA, a collectable figure company I'm sure you are all familiar with, has released their first wave of 8-inch Django Unchained toys. You can choose from Django, Steven, Schultz, Broomhilda, Butch, and Candie (Candie's figure is only 3-inches and barely works).
Some are unhappy with these figures, however. Najee Ali - director of an advocacy group called Project Islamic Hope - called the line "a slap in the face of our ancestors." He actually liked the film, but draws the line at Django's toy form, saying the line "trivializes the horrors of slavery and what African Americans experienced."
The same sentiment can be seen in a far less grammatically correct form on the figures' Amazon pages. The complaints all start sounding the same after a while, and you can read them yourself if you're so inclined. The basic gist is that the toys, by their very existence, make light of slavery. This one, from akamplete08 and found among the reviews for Django's figure, is probably my favorite:
"While the movie may be based on fictional characters, many of the events that occurred in the movie are based on real-life events...not occasional happenings but the norm. If there is no harm in creating, selling and purchasing 'slave dolls,' then why stop here? Let's create a line of dolls for Holocaust, 9/11 and even Sandy Hook victims and perpetrators. I guarantee that if these 'action figures' were produced along with authentic weapons and accessories(after a movie based on these events of course), the hideous portrayal of a tragedy would not be taken so lightheartedly."
I am now filled with guilt and shame over all the real life rapes I recreated with pretty much every Barbie and Ken combo I have come across to this day. Slavery is no laughing matter, but this outrage seems a bit misplaced if only for its core misunderstanding of who buys these toys and why.
While it's true there are no Schindler's List action figures, Django Unchained is not solely a film about the horrors of slavery. It's also a fairy tale about how the utterly awesome Django and Schultz rescue the lovely Broomhilda from the clutches of the evil Calvin Candie and his henchman Steven (who is secretly not a henchman at all). The property is all kinds of toy worthy.
These protests may have worked, though. All the Amazon pages for these figures claim they are now unavailable. It's difficult to believe they're all gone because they sold out, especially in poor Butch's case.