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Tintin racism claim thrown out of court

14th February 2012

A court in Belgium has rejected claims that one of Herge's Tintin books breaches racism laws, in a case that has now lasted almost five years.

In 2007, Congolese campaigner Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo launched legal proceedings to have Tintin in the Congo banned, claiming that its portrayal of African people is racist.

Written in the late 1920s and first serialised by Herge in 1930, it is the second Tintin adventure and sees the intrepid young reporter fighting crime in the former Belgian colony.

However, the book has long attracted criticism from some circles, with detractors claiming its portrayal of black people is outdated and even Herge himself stating that he was unhappy with the work.

The Belgian Court argued that the book was written at a time when colonial laws were prevalent and the tone was not intentionally racist.

'It is clear that neither the story, nor the fact that it has been put on sale, has a goal to ... create an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment,' the court said in its judgment.

Following the hearing, Mr Mbutu vowed to appeal the decision and take the case 'as far as it can go'.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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