Melon Farmers Original Version

TinTin Book Censorship

TinTin au Congo and the overly sensitive


Offsite Article: Tintin racism row puts spotlight on children's literature...

Link Here16th October 2012
Full story: TinTin Book Censorship...TinTin au Congo and the overly sensitive
The decision to reshelve Herges books because of their perceived colonial and racist tint has generated heated debate in Sweden

See article from



Update: TinTin in PC Land...

Stereotypically PC book censors temporarily ban TinTin in Sweden

Link Here29th September 2012
Full story: TinTin Book Censorship...TinTin au Congo and the overly sensitive

Following justifiable media criticism, politically correct officials at the Kulturhuset library in Stockholm have reversed their decision to ban Tintin comic books from library shelves.

The reversal comes after a report in Dagens Nyheter newspaper in which artistic director, Behrang Miri said the library planned to remove Tintin comics from its shelves:

The image the Tintin books give of Africans is Afro-phobic, for example. Africans are a bit dumb, while Arabs sit on flying carpets and Turks smoke water pipes.

But after criticism of the censorship erupted in Swedish media, Miri changed his stance. He said in a statement:

I wanted to highlight an opinion piece about issues of discrimination, but realize now that it's wrong to ban books,

Among those who slammed Kulturhuset's Tintin ban was Fredrik Stromberg, chair of the Swedish Comics Association:

I think it's wrong. I don't think people should censure in this way, children are smarter than that. It's better to talk about the stupid things we have done than to hide them away, that would be the mistake.


12th February

Update: TinTin Conquers Belgium...

Belgian court refuses to ban TinTin book over claims of racism

A Belgian court has refused to ban the sale of Tintin in the Congo , rejecting arguments by a Congolese man that the iconic 1931 comic book was filled with racist stereotypes about Africans.

The Brussels court ruled that Belgian anti-racism laws only apply when there is a willful intention to discriminate against someone, said an attorney for Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, the man who tried to get the strip off bookshelves.

The court heard arguments that given the historical context, the author, Herge, could not have been motivated by the desire to discriminate.

For the past four years, Mbutu Mondondo had sought to get the book banned or at least force stores to place a warning label on the cover or add a preface explaining that it was written in a different era, as English versions do.

Mbutu's lawyers said he would appeal the decision.


4th November

Update: TinTin JuJu Warning...

Publishers of TinTin in the Congo cover it with a protective band warning of historic racist content

The Campaign for Real Education has condemned his publishers as over the top for deciding to package one of his early adventures, Tintin in the Congo , in shrink-wrap and with a warning about its content.

George Remi, the Belgian artist better known as Herge, first published his tale of derring-do in Africa in 1930. When he re-worked it in 1946 he removed several references to the Congo being a Belgian colony.

But the book still contained a number of images that were perceived as racist. One of these showed a black woman bowing to Tintin and saying White man very great...White mister is big juju man .

The book's publisher, Egmont UK, said it recognised that some readers may be offended by the content. A spokesman said:

This is why we took the unusual step of placing a protective band around the book with a warning about the content and also included an introduction inside the book by the original translators explaining the historical context.

Whilst being frequently requested by fans and collectors who had seen it available in other languages, the work contains scenes which some readers may find offensive.

The warning reads:

In his portrayal of the Belgian Congo, the young Herge' reflects the colonial attitudes of the time...

He depicted the African people according to the bourgeois, paternalistic stereotypes of the period -- an interpretation that some of today's readers may find offensive.


1st October

Update: PC Superiority...

Court hears case to ban a 1931 TinTin book

A Congolese-born campaigner has finally stated his case in court in a 4-year bid to ban a Tintin book. He is claiming that its cartoon depections of Africans are racist.

Mbutu Mondondo Bienvenu launched a legal case in 2007 against the book Tintin in the Congo .  The book was published in 1931 and he is taking action against a modern version of the original. Openly racist language was removed in subsequent editions.

What poses a problem today is not Herge, it's the commercialisation of a cartoon book which manifestly diffuses ideas based on racial superiority, his lawyer Ahmed L'Hedim told the court.

The English language version carries a warning to readers that its contents could be offensive and that it should be seen in the context of its time. If the court decides against an outright ban, the complainant wants a similar warning placed on the editions in French and Dutch sold in Belgium.

Moulinsart, the foundation which holds the Tintin copyright, has refused to attach a warning. It says many works could be accused of discrimination.

Mbutu Mondondo initially brought criminal charges over the book created by Belgian author and illustrator Georges Remi, better known as Herge'. However, after lengthy delays, his legal team started a civil case last year.

Publisher Casterman and Moulinsart will present their counter-arguments at a hearing in Brussels on 14 October, with a ruling expected in about two months.


3rd June

Update: TinTin in the Belgian Courts...

An attempt at book burning

Legal attempts to ban Tintin in the Congo for racism are a form of book burning , according to lawyers acting for the estate of Hergé, the Belgian cartoon hero's creator.

Belgium's courts are investigating whether Tintin's 1931 Congolese adventures, when the country was a Belgian colony, portrays black Africans in a racist way.

Alain Berenboom, a lawyer for the estate of Georges Remi, the Tintin cartoonist who worked under the Hergé pen-name, attacked the calls to censor the book which was published for over 70 years before being accused of racism.

He Said: I cannot accept racism but I consider it equally lamentable that we burn books. To ban books is to burn them . It has never caused public order problems, including in Africa.

Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, a Brussels-based Congolese man, has spent the last three years pursuing Tintin's copyright holders and publisher in the civil and criminals courts.

This book contains images and dialogue of a manifestly racist and offensive nature not only to blacks but to the whole of humanity, said Ahmed L'Hedim, Mondondo's lawyer: It is simply unbearable to my client that his children could come across this book and feel insulted.


1st May

Update: Let Bygones be Bygones...

Court application for a ban on Tintin in the Congo

A Congolese man wants a supposedly racist Tintin book banned in Belgium, the homeland of the cartoon detective.

Tintin In The Congo , first published in 1931, features an African sidekick named Coco who is portrayed as a little black helper, stupid and without qualities , according to Bienvenu Mbutu.

Mbutu, who lives in Belgium, is demanding the book be stripped from the shelves or printed with a warning that it contains racist content .

In one scene a black woman is featured bowing before Tintin and exclaiming: White man very great. White mister is big juju man!

When Tintin is chased by a villain and nearly fed to crocodiles, his saviour is a white Belgian missionary. It makes people think that blacks have not evolved, said Mr Mbutu.

Copies sold in Britain now come with a band around the outside warning that it may be offensive. Border's bookshop removed it from the children's section to the shelves reserved for adult graphic novels, while WHSmith recommended it for readers aged 16 and over.

A court in Brussels will rule on the case on May 5.


2nd September

Update: TinTin Under Duress...

Retroactive Political Correctness

A Congolese accountant is to launch a lawsuit in France against Tintin for racism, accusing judges in the cartoon hero's native Belgium of trying to bury his case to protect a national symbol.

Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo is taking legal action claiming Hergé's controversial Tintin In The Congo is propaganda for colonialism and amounts to racism and xenophobia.

Tintin's little (black) helper is seen as stupid and without qualities. It makes people think that blacks have not evolved, he said.

Mbutu Mondondo launched a case in Belgium two years ago for symbolic damages of one euro from Tintin's Belgian publishers Moulinsart, and demanded the book be withdrawn from the market. But since then his lawyer, Claude Ndjakanyi, said there had been no response from Belgian justice.

Georges Remi, the Tintin cartoonist who worked under the Hergé pen-name, reworked the book in 1946 to remove references to Congo as Belgian colony.

But it still contained images such as a black woman bowing to Tintin and saying: White man very great White mister is big juju man! Moulinsart, Tintin's publishers, argued that the whole row was silly and that book must be seen in its historical context: To read in the 21st century a Tintin album dating back to 1931 requires a minimum of intellectual honesty. If one applied the 'politically correct' filter to great artists or writers, we could no longer publish certain novels of Balzac, Jules Verne, or even some Shakespeare plays.


20th August

TinTin SinBin...

New York library removes TinTin book over racial offence

The NYTimes reported that the Brooklyn Public Library's Materials Review Committee has decided to remove the book of TinTin au Congo from its shelves.

Chair of the committee, Christine Stenstrom does acknowledge that the book, created by Hergé in 1929, is of historic interest and therefore it will be added to the Hunt Collection of Children's Literature, which is located in the Central Library. This is a special collection of historic children's literature that is available for viewing by appointment only.

As the Times notes, the Brooklyn Library has actually had a good track record of keeping controversial material. This is the only book they chose to remove from shelves because the review panel found it racially offensive.

Censor Watch logo





Censorship News Latest

Daily BBFC Ratings

Site Information