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Mattel’s ‘Frida Kahlo’ Barbie® Lands It In Hot Water With The Artist’s Family
By Mikelle Leow, 09 Mar 2018
Video screenshot via Mattel
In celebration of accomplished females, Mattel turned 17 role models into Barbie dolls and launched the special collection on 8 March, International Women’s Day.
Unfortunately, the move has landed the company in a hot seat with one of the icons’ family members. According to The Washington Post, Frida Kahlo’s descendants are objecting the personification of the Mexican artist in Barbie’s ‘Inspiring Women’ series, claiming that Mattel did not own the rights to portray her.
Kahlo’s family argued that Mara Romeo, her great-niece, was the sole owner of her image. Romeo added that she was going to take “necessary measures” to fight the unauthorized representation of the painter.
Both Mattel and the Frida Kahlo Corporation—a company founded by Kahlo’s niece, Isolda P. Kahlo, and a separate entity from Romeo—have refuted the claims, saying that the doll was designed through lawful means.
“Mattel has worked in close partnership with the Frida Kahlo Corporation, the owner of all rights related to the name and identity of Frida Kahlo, on the creation of this doll,” Mattel replied in a statement.
“In addition to the Frida Kahlo Corporation being an important part of the doll development process, we have their permission and a legally binding agreement to make a doll in the likeness of the great Frida Kahlo.”
To raise even more mono-brows, Pablo Sangri—Mara Romeo’s lawyer—said that the Frida Kahlo Corporation was never granted the rights to the artist’s image. Furthermore, it had violated a contract by not informing her family about the creation of her Barbie doll likeness.
Romeo expressed her disdain about the apparently inaccurate portrayal, which depicted Kahlo in “light-colored eyes… It should be a doll that represents everything my aunt represented, her strength. It should be a Frida that represents Mexico.”
Her lawyer affirmed that the family isn’t asking for financial compensation, but hopes Mattel can consider refashioning the doll.
“We will talk to them about regularizing this situation, and by regularizing I mean talking about the appearance of the doll, its characteristics, the history the doll should have to match what the artist really was.”
[via Deutsche Welle, cover image via Mattel]
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