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Playmobil’s “Pirate Crew” Set Features Dark-Skinned Character With Slave Collar

playmobil slave collar

Playmobil is under fire today for its “Pirate Ship” playset, which features what looks like a dark-skinned figure whose accessory is a slave collar. We’re not even joking.

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Sacramento woman Ida Lockett was helping her son put together the playset when she came across the part of the instruction booklet that tells you to place the collar around the figure’s neck. In a Facebook post to Playmobil’s wall, Aimee Norman (who bought the playset for Lockett’s son) said she was mortified to have bought the playset for her nephew.

The figure, dressed in what look like rags and without shoes, was supposedly “a part of the crew,” according to a statement from Playmobil to the Washington Post. They said:

If you look at the box, you can see that the pirate figure is clearly a crew member on the pirate ship and not a captive. The figure was meant to represent a pirate who was a former slave in a historical context. It was not our intention to offend anyone in anyway.

Uh… sure. Did it not occur to anyone that asking kids to put a slave collar (albeit a broken one) on a dark-skinned character might send the wrong message? Of course it’s not your intent to offend–at least, I hope it’s not–but it should be your intent to think this design decision through, isn’t it?

Because the internet is, well, the internet, there’ve been plenty of reactions to the story ranging from people getting angry about censorship to whining about how “political correctness” ruins lives. As an aside: you should probably check out this Chrome extension called “PC2Respect,” which replaces instances of “political correctness” to “treating people with respect.” It turns Facebook into a veritable circus of hilarity.

(via BoingBoing)

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Jessica Lachenal
Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.

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