Had to happen sooner or later. The Telegraph reports that a Congolese accountant is filing a lawsuit for racism in France after Belgian lawmakers were trying to bury his suit against Herge’s iconic creation to preserve a “national icon.”
Henry Samuel in Paris reports that Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, filed suit in Belgium two years ago for one euro to have Tintin in the Congo removed from the market. He was met with no response and was denied several claims for a dossier. Mr. Mondondo believes the silence was politically motivated as Tintin and his white dog Snowy are seen as national idols in Belgium.
The book has a long history of being controversial. The creator, Herge, believed it to be of “youthful sin” and regretted its colonialist viewpoint and blatant racism. In July 2007, The Commission for Racial Equality in the UK petitioned UK book store owners to remove the book from shelves. This started after human rights lawyer David Enright was shopping in a Borders with his African wife and children and found the book in the CHILDREN’S SECTION. Could I emphasize that enough? No. Upon complaining, Borders moved the book to the adult graphic novel section. By July 14, the book got a lot of media coverage and sales of the book blew up by 3,800% (didn’t know that could happen) and the book went up to being in the top five on Amazon’s UK website from position 4,343 four days earlier.
Since then Mr. Modondo has claimed in the Telegraph article that he will take this suit to the highest courts of Europe. Frankly, I don’t know what they were thinking distributing this book.