Is This Jabba The Hutt Lego Palace Racist?

A Turkish cultural group in Austria is furious that Jabba's palace sort of resembles the Hagia Sophia.

Is This Jabba The Hutt Lego Palace Racist?

Betteridge's law of headlines states "Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no." Which answers the question posed by this headline.

Here's the story:  a group of Turks in Austria have issued a release claiming that the Lego model kit of Jabba's Palace from Return of the Jedi is racist and offensive. They claim it bears a resemblence to the Hagia Sophia, which they find infuriating. Lego has replied, saying that the kit is based only on fictional buildings from the Star Wars universe.

The group calls Jabba a terrorist who 'likes to smoke hookah and have his victims killed.' Their statement also says: 'It is clear that the ugly figure of Jabba and the whole scene smacks of racial prejudice and vulgar insinuations against Asians and Orientals as people with deceitful and criminal personalities.'

I'm not quite sure where this group has been for the last thirty years, since Lego didn't invent Jabba's Palace. Also, Jabba's not a terrorist but rather a criminal kingpin, a truly important distinction. 

Is Jabba's Palace modeled after the Hagia Sophia? Maybe. Movie production designers often take their initial cues from real world structures, and the Hagia Sophia's dome is quite beautiful. It's one of the most important architectural milestones in history. What's interesting is that the Hagia Sophia, which is now a museum but was once a mosque, was actually built as an Orthodox basilica, so it isn't an example of Islamic architecture. I bring that up because many of the English-language articles I've read have made a big deal of this being a religious issue, with claims that the Turkish group was upset that an Islamic holy place was being used as the model for a criminal den.

But from the mangled Google translation of what I believe to be the original statement, it seems to me that the problems the group have are largely based on the inclusion of weapons in the set - they call it a war toy. They also obviously have racial issues, as seen in the quote above, but it's the weapons that bother them the most. 

This feels like a novelty news story, even considering claims that the group is intending to sue Lego. It is an interesting reminder in this globally connected world how our artistic sampling of other cultures might just be seen as offensive when the sample comes back to the originators. 

Here is a site that has the complete statement.

Source: Daily Mail
Devin Faraci's photo About the Author: A ten year veteran of writing for the web, Devin has built a reputation as a loud, uncompromising and honest voice – sometimes to the chagrin of his readers, but usually to their delight.
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