Controversial Tintin adventure ignites U.K. race row
The Borders book chain in London has shifted one of Belgian author Hergé's Tintin adventure comics to the adult section of its stores, after a British race watchdog complained that its content is racist.
The Commission for Racial Equalityhad called for Borders to pull The Adventures of Tintin in the Congo — in which the titular boy reporter visits the former African colony — from its shelves for good.
A spokeswoman for the group denounced the title on Wednesday, saying it contained "words of hideous radical prejudice, where the 'savage natives' look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles.
"The only place that it might be acceptable for this to be displayed would be in a museum, with a big sign saying 'old-fashioned, racist claptrap,'" she said.
"It's high time that they reconsidered their decision and removed this from their shelves."
The group got involved afterreceiving acomplaint from a British human rights lawyer, who while shopping in a Borders store with his African-born wife and his two sons came across the title in the children's section.
Let customers decide: Borders
A spokesman for the bookstore explained its move.
"Naturally, some of the thousands of books and music selections we carry could be considered controversial or objectionable depending on individual political views, tastes and interests," he said.
"However, Borders stands by its commitment to let customers make the choice.… After consideration of this title, we have instructed all stores to move it to the adult graphic novels section."
Hergé, whose real name was Georges Prosper Remi, began writing his now-classic Tintin adventures in 1929.
Though he initially penned 23 comic books about the spiky-haired youthand adventurer, Hergé continued to revise the stories over the years and was reportedly embarrassed about some of his earlier, naive views of the world.
Tintin in the Congo is considered the most controversial of the series and is often criticized for its racist and colonial views, as well as scenes of violence against animals.
The Hergé foundation said on Thursday that the books, including Tintin in the Congo, should be read in the context of the very different time period in which they were originally published.