Toy manufacturer Mattel may be heading to court over its new Barbie fashioned in the likeness of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo after the Kahlo estate sent a letter insisting Mattel “does not have the proper authorization to use the image of Frida Kahlo.”
As Paper reports, the Kahlo Barbie was one of 17 released in conjunction with International Women’s Day, part of its “Inspiring Women” series that also includes Barbie versions of pilot Amelia Earhart, mathematician Katherine Johnson (whose story was told in the Oscar-winning film “Hidden Figures”) and “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins.
However, representatives of the late artists’s estate claim that Mattel does not have the right to use Kahlo’s image, while Kahlo’s great-niece Mara de Anda Romeo is asking — through her lawyer — that she be consulted in redesigning the doll.
Mattel, however, said in a statement that it obtained the rights legally through the Panama-based Frida Kahlo Corporation, “which owns all the rights,” with a Mattel lawyer stating the company purchased the rights through Kahlo’s niece, Isolda Pinedo Kahlo, more than a decade ago.
Salma Hayek fought to bring Kahlo’s amazing life story to the screen, portraying the artist in the 2002 biopic “Frida”, which she also produced.
Hayek shared her thoughts on the Frida Kahlo Barbie in an Instagram post, writing that Kahlo “never tried to be or look like anyone else. She celebrated her uniqueness. How could they turn her into a Barbie?”
Meanwhile, the doll has been taking plenty of heat on Twitter for thinning out Kahlo’s iconic unibrow, among other criticisms, resulting in comments such as these: