In news that sounds like it’s made up, Manchester United’s Bastian Schweinsteiger is seeking legal action against a Hong Kong toy company who has used his name and likeness on a Nazi WWII doll/action figure. The footballer is furious that his face, hair, and name are being used to sell something with a Nazi symbol.
TMZ Sports says that Manchester United’s Schweinsteiger, who also played on the German World Cup Team 2014, is “declaring war” on a Chinese toy company called DiD. But the company believes they have a logical defense: All Germans look alike, so it’s not necessarily Schweinsteiger, and Bastian is a common German name. Schweinsteiger thinks it’s more than a coincidence that it looks like him and carries his name, and he’s not happy.
“We think that all Germans look like that. Bastian is also a very common name in Germany. It is a complete coincidence that the figure ‘Bastian’ looks like Schweinsteiger.”
The Guardian says that the Manchester United midfielder has started legal action DiD (Dragon in Dream). Schweinsteiger’s lawyers are trying to stop the dolls from going to market and want them deleted from their catalog. The dolls supposed to retail for 78 euros or HK$958.
The doll comes with a woolen cap with a swastika, outfit changes, and a mess tin.
“‘Bastian’ will reportedly soon be available to buy in Europe via a Dutch partner of DiD. The company describes the doll as ‘a member of a Wehrmacht supply unit, a so-called cookhouse wallah.'”
Media lawyer Ulrich Amelung believes that Schweinsteiger has a strong case to have the dolls destroyed.
“This is a clear violation of Schweinsteiger’s personal rights. Every person has the right to their own image. Furthermore the depiction of a swastika-wearing Wehrmacht soldier constitutes gross defamation and offence.”
Time Magazine also seems to believe that Schweinsteiger’s rights are being violated and that the company’s claim that any resemblance was completely a coincidence is ridiculous.
“We don’t sell any figures which resemble footballers,” a company spokesman told Bild. “It is a complete coincidence that the figure ‘Bastian’ looks like Schweinsteiger,” he said, adding that the company assumed it is how all Germans look.”
DW is reporting out of Germany that linking a popular footballer to the Nazis is unacceptable. They also believe that anyone who looks at a photo of the midfielder and the doll side by side cannot help but see the strong resemblance.
“We are taking legal action against them. There’s nothing more to say on our part,” a spokesman told German news agency DPA on Thursday.
The doll was brought to the attention of Schweinsteiger by the German paper Bild who broke the story that DiD was planning on producing a doll called “Bastian.”
The Daily Beast believes that this story will not leave the press until DiD is willing to cease and desist and remove the doll from sale. But DiD says they are not backing down.
“We will keep trying our great best to produce unique and dynamite figures for the hobby world, and of course, we will offer our fans a reasonable price in getting those collector-oriented figures as always. So, Expand your army! Expand your collection! DID promise to bring the best products for your buck!”
Do you believe the DiD doll looks like Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger?
[Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Matthias Hangst]