LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The producers of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" on Friday ordered a halt to the production of action figures based on the Oscar-nominated slavery movie after criticism that they were offensive to African-Americans.
The eight-inch (20-cm) dolls, which were intended for people 17 and older, included gun-slinging freed slave Django, his wife and cruel, white plantation owner Candie.
"Django Unchained" has been attacked by some African-Americans for its portrayal of slavery and its violence. Despite the controversy, the film was nominated for five Oscars, including best picture.
Civil rights leader Al Sharpton's National Action Network was among the groups that criticized the action figures.
"Selling this doll is highly offensive to our ancestors and the African-American community," K.W. Tulloss, president of the Los Angeles branch of National Action Network, told the New York Daily News.
"The movie is for adults, but these are action figures that appeal to children," Tulloss told the paper. "We don't want other individuals to utilize them for their entertainment, to make a mockery of slavery."
The Weinstein Co, which produced "Django Unchained," said in a statement on Friday that in light of the reaction to the dolls it had ordered production to stop.
"We have tremendous respect for the audience and it was never our intent to offend anyone," the company said.
The action figures were sold by the National Entertainment Collectibles Association, which could not be reached for comment on Friday.
The producers noted that action figures have been produced for all of Tarantino's past films, including his World War Two revenge fantasy "Inglourious Basterds" in 2009.
"Django Unchained" stars Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio and has taken in some $130 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices since its release on December 25.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey and Alex Dobuzinskis Editing by Jill Serjeant and Eric Beech)