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World & Nation

Relatives win injunction against Mattel’s Frida Kahlo Barbie

CORRECTS SPELLING OF KAHLO - This product image released by Barbie shows dolls in the image of pilot
Mattel must cease commercializing its Frida Kahlo Barbie doll in Mexico after relatives of the late artist won a temporary injunction Friday.
(Associated Press)

Distant relatives of the late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo said Friday they have won a temporary injunction that stops sales of a Frida Barbie doll.

Kahlo’s great-niece Mara de Anda Romeo argues that Mattel doesn’t have the rights to use Kahlo’s image as part of its Inspiring Women series.

According to a copy of the ruling, the toymaker and department stores in Mexico must stop commercializing the doll until the issue is resolved.

Pablo Sangri, a lawyer for de Anda Romeo, said those named in the suit can appeal the ruling.

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Mattel has said it worked with the Panama-based Frida Kahlo Corp., which it claims has rights to the artist’s image. The corporation said it got the rights through Kahlo’s niece, Isolda Pinedo Kahlo, more than a decade ago.

“This Barbie doll is meant to honor Frida Kahlo’s great legacy and story,” Mattel said in a statement Friday. “We followed the correct steps to secure permission and look forward to the matter being resolved in court.”

Critics say the doll doesn’t reflect Kahlo’s heavy, nearly conjoined eyebrows, and its costume doesn’t accurately portray her elaborate Tehuana-style dresses.

That is, it’s more Barbie-like than Frida-like. Barbie is an American icon that often has been criticized as promoting an unrealistic body image and consumerist lifestyle. Kahlo was a lifelong Communist who died in 1954 before the doll was introduced.

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