Not according to Playmobil.
The toymakers known for their bizarre sense of what kids like to play with (the airport security checkpoint still blows my mind) are now suing a German priest who was using Playmobil’s little people to recreate scenes from the Bible for little kids.
Father Markus Bomhard, from the Protestant Community of Eschborn, created the “Playmo-Bibel” (spelling is correct – this is Germany, after all) says on his site that he got the idea from his own daughters – who wanted to know why there was no “Playmo” minister toy. They used their own Playmobil toys to recreate everyday life, he said, so why not the Bible?
Broken down into the Old Testament and the New, his site is mostly pictures taken of his little scenes, from Adam and Eve to the last supper, plus scenes from church life, including a wedding.
But according to the Daily Telegraph, lawyers for Playmobil have told Bomhard he didn’t get their permission for the project, so he must stop photographing the toys and using the name Playmobil. OK, the latter part I get – it’s trademarked after all.
Here’s the crazy part: the Telegraph reports, “the German firm is understood to be horrified that the scenes could offend
people of other religion.” This from the company that sells a Playmobil nativity set and an advent calendar set?
Their biggest gripe is apparently that Bomhard dared dress the characters up. As a Playmobil rep told the Telegraph, “We’ve got no problem with using the
figures as they are in their original costumes. What we are on about is
redesigning them and changing their appearance.”
Isn’t that what you make toys for? For people to play with, reimagine, redecorate and redesign? Because if we’re not supposed to redesign toys, I imagine Fisher-Price will be coming for my daughter any day now . . . something about cutting all the hair off of Big Sister Dora.