“We wanted to do the exact opposite and we are very sorry if some have felt offended or felt that we were reinforcing a racist image,” said the film’s director and author of the book, Stina Wirsén, to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN).
“We don’t want to fight it at all, and therefore we’ve taken down the posters which have caused the reactions.”
The film, Little Pink and Brokiga (Liten skär och alla små brokiga), based on a book of the same name, is set to hit Swedish cinemas on September 22nd.
But one particular character in the poster – Hjärtat – has roused the public’s attention with her black face, braided hair, white eyes and oversized, full white lips.
And many are not amused by the character’s appearance.
“Showing a picture like this is like saying the N-word,” argues history of ideas scholar Mikela Lundahl of the Gothenburg University to Sveriges Radio (SR).
“This is one of the worst stereotypes that the African American people have been subjected to, something that came from the USA in the 1800s.”
World-renowned Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård, who narrates the film, has distanced himself from the critics, but told SR that director Wirsén is “anti-racist” and that the critics should “focus their criticism on actual racists instead.”