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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Grévin Museum Faces Backlash for a ‘White’ Dwayne Johnson Wax Statue

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PARIS, France – Paris’s renowned Grévin Museum, often compared to the famous Madame Tussauds, has come under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

The institution recently unveiled a waxwork statue of the iconic Dwayne Johnson, popularly known as ‘The Rock’. What was expected to be a tribute to the “Fast and the Furious” star quickly turned into a subject of derision on social media, prompting an intervention from Johnson himself.

The wax figure, which showcased the former W.W.E. champion in a casual blue polo with arms folded and a hint of a smirk, drew criticism primarily for its inaccurate skin tone. The hue chosen by the sculptor appeared markedly lighter than Johnson’s actual skin colour.

Critics took to various platforms to voice their disapproval, with one user commenting, “Who is this because uhhhh … You do know he’s Samoan and Black right lol?”

Referring to the statue’s skin tone, a post on The Shade Room, a popular celebrity news outlet on Instagram, called the figure “melanin deficient.”

The issue became even more pronounced when Johnson himself entered the fray. Sharing an Instagram video of comedian James Andre Jefferson Jr., who humorously remarked that the statue looked like an employee at H & R Block, Johnson highlighted the importance of getting details right, especially one as significant as skin color.

He assured his fans that his team would liaise with the museum to address this oversight.

 

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A post shared by Dwayne Johnson (@therock)

The Grévin Museum, while taking note of the criticism, confirmed via an Instagram story that their artists are reworking the controversial statue. The museum, known for housing over 250 wax figures of global celebrities, explained on its website the extensive efforts that went into designing Johnson’s statue.

Stéphane Barret, the artist responsible for the sculpture, mentioned that replicating Johnson’s tattoos alone took 10 days and getting the eyes right required three attempts.

However, this is not the museum’s first brush with controversy over its representation of Black celebrities. In 2019, the waxwork of supermodel Naomi Campbell was listed by W magazine as one of the “most cursed celebrity wax figures of all time.”

Similarly, in 2017, Madame Tussauds in Manhattan was criticized for its portrayal of music superstar Beyoncé, with many accusing the institution of whitewashing.

With the increasing emphasis on representation and accuracy in today’s cultural milieu, institutions like the Grévin Museum are under more scrutiny than ever to ensure that their portrayals are respectful and accurate.

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