Dark-skinned toy figure on Playmobil pirate ship has ‘slave collar,’ mom says
A dark-skinned toy inside a Playmobil pirate ship has caused an uproar for characteristics that appear to resemble to a slave.
The figurine appears to have a shackle around its neck, is barefoot and is wearing tattered clothing.
Playmobil says the toy depicts a pirate who was formerly a slave.
But Ida Lockett, a mother from Sacramento, said the toy is clearly a slave.
Lockett told KOVR-TV Channel 13 her 5-year-old son received the toy with a Playmobil pirate ship for his birthday. After working on putting the ship together, the mother made a startling discovery. The toy came with a shackle along with instructions on how to place it around its neck. The ship included a dungeon.
“You cannot have this specific accessory and call it anything else,” she told the Sacramento news station. “The fact that you can Google it, look it up, say what it is — it’s a slave collar.”
Lockett said the ship, which can retail for as much as $89.99, was offensive and blatantly racist.
Aimee Norman, the boy’s aunt, wrote to Playmobil, saying she purchased the toy because it had a black character, but was mortified to discover the toy resembled a slave.
“Selling children’s toys that are suggestive of slavery in play is obscene, even more so given the marked absence of diversity in your entire toy line,” she wrote on Facebook. “#Slavery.is.not.a.game.Playmobil.”
Playmobil says the playset was designed to depict life on a 17th century pirate ship at sea.
“If you look at the box, you can see that the pirate figure is clearly a crew member on the pirate ship and not a captive,” Playmobil said in a statement. “The figure was meant to represent a pirate who was a former slave in a historical context. It was not our intention to offend anyone in anyway.”
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