French rights group CRAN on Thursday attacked the publisher of the Tintin books for his "very ambiguous" anti-racism after he said he was proud to sell the racially stereotyped 'Tintin in the Congo'.
The head of the CRAN (Representative Committee of Black Associations), Louis-Georges Tin, met the boss of Casterman publishers, Louis Delas, on Wednesday and found "his anti-racist convictions very ambiguous."
"Mr Delas said he was sincerely 'anti-racist', which we would very much hope," the CRAN said in a statement.
"However, when Louis-Georges Tin asked him 'Are you proud of having Tintin in the Congo in your catalogue?' he replied without hesitation 'yes', which is perplexing," the statement said.
Delas said "he didn't see why the CRAN was so shocked by 'Tintin in the Congo', and said that no one he knew was shocked by the book," it added.
A Belgian court last month refused to ban the sale of the iconic book after a Congolese man, Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, charged it was filled with racist stereotypes about Africans.
The court argued that given the historical context -- the book was written during the colonial era in 1931 -- the author, Herge, "could not have been motivated by the desire" to discriminate, the lawyer, Ahmed L'Hedim, told AFP.
Mbutu Mondondo has sought for years to get the book banned or at least force stores to place a warning label on the cover or add a preface explaining that it was written in a different era, as English versions do.
The CRAN said that it would back Mbutu Mondondo in his appeal against the verdict.
Herge, real name Georges Remi (1907-1983), justified the book by saying it was merely a reflection of the naive views of the time. Some of the scenes were revised for later editions.