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Los Angeles - The online auction giant eBay has banned the sale of dolls linked to Quentin Tarantino's blood-soaked western about a freed slave Django Unchained, describing them as “offensive”, on Thursday.
The toymaker who manufactured the dolls had already discontinued them, after protests from black advocacy groups, according to the celebrity news website TMZ.
An eBay spokesperson, Kari Ramirez, confirmed to AFP that the auction website had banned them. “These were removed as they were in violation of our Offensive Materials policy,” she said.
The eBay policy includes a section listing “racially or ethnically offensive language, historical items, reproductions and works of art and media” which are subject to restricted use or banning from the site.
The banned list notably includes “items marketed inappropriately with an intolerant regard toward religion, sexual orientation, race, or ethnic background”.
Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as a slave freed by a bounty hunter, with whom he teams up over the winter on a killing spree before seeking to liberate his wife, employed by a plantation owner played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
The dolls include reproductions of Foxx's Django and bounty hunter Dr Schultz, as well as DiCaprio's character, and that played by Tarantino regular Samuel L Jackson.
TMZ reported last week that the Weinstein Company, the movie's producers, had asked the dolls' manufacturer to stop production after protests from groups including Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network.
It said only about 1 000 of the dolls had been sold before production was shut down.
Django Unchained has already triggered controversy, both over its use of violence - hardly a surprise with Tarantino - and its depiction of slavery, with African American director Spike Lee calling it “disrespectful”.
“American slavery was not a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It was a Holocaust. My ancestors are slaves. Stolen from Africa. I will honour them,” he tweeted, referring to the 1966 movie Django which Tarantino references.
The provocative Pulp Fiction director's latest movie won two Golden Globes earlier this month, and is nominated in five categories for the Oscars, which top off Hollywood's annual awards season on February 24. - Sapa-AFP