A Belgian court rejected an application to ban the Congolese adventures of Tintin, the Belgian cartoon character, for breaching racism laws, according to Reuters.
The court in Brussels stated that it did not believe that “Tintin in the Congo,” originally written in 1931, was “intended to incite racial hatred, a criteria when deciding if something breaks Belgium’s racism laws,” Reuters reported.
The book has been criticized for its portrayal of the Congolese “who are drawn with dark skin and large lips and depicted as childlike,” said The New York Times, and book stores have largely sold it with warnings, stored it in the adult section or pulled it from the shelves completely.
Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, a Congolese man, has been campaigning since 2007 to get the book banned or at least push for warnings to be placed on the cover, explaining that it was from a different time, said AFP.
“It is a racist comic book that celebrates colonialism and the supremacy of the white race over the black race,” Mbutu Mondondo said last year.
More on GlobalPost: Racism in Europe's bastion of liberal tolerance?
The court said that because the book was written during the colonial era, the author Herge (the pen name of Georges Remi), “‘could not have been motivated by the desire’ to discriminate.”
The BBC reported that the court’s judgment read, “It is clear that neither the story, nor the fact that it has been put on sale, has a goal to... create an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment.”
Last year, Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg directed an animated film based on Tintin’s adventures.
More on GlobalPost: Tintin to the rescue!