Man faces two years in prison for juxtaposing image of movie character with country’s President
Peter Jackson is rejecting a Turkish court’s attempt to determine whether or not Gollum from the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” franchises is good or bad, as the pictures in question (below) depict Smeagol.
In a joint statement to TheWrap with screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens, who worked with Jackson on both franchises, the director stated:
“If the images below are in fact the ones forming the basis of this Turkish lawsuit, we can state categorically: None of them feature the character known as Gollum. All of them are images of the character called Smeagol.”
The proclamation was made because a Turkish man named Bilgin Ciftci faces up to two years in prison after he allegedly juxtaposed a picture of the J.R.R. Tolkien character with a picture of Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Smeagol is a joyful, sweet character. Smeagol does not lie, deceive, or attempt to manipulate others. He is not evil, conniving, or malicious — these personality traits belong to Gollum, who should never be confused with Smeagol,” the statement from Jackson,
“Smeagol would never dream of wielding power over those weaker than himself,” it concludes. “He is not a bully. In fact he’s very loveable. This is why audiences all over the world have warmed to his character.”
Ciftci’s lawyer Hicran Danisman told the Associated Press on Wednesday that she was forced to argue that Gollum is not a bad character after her initial freedom of expression defense fell flat.
According to Danisman, the argument prompted the judge in the case to rule that a panel of psychologists and film experts should provide a detailed assessment of the character.
Insulting the president is a crime punishable by a prison sentence in Turkey, with more than 200 people investigated for “insulting the head of state” between August 2014 and March 2015.
Andy Serkis played Gollum/Smeagol in both franchises, but declined to comment on the situation.
– A.Kadir Yildirim (@akyildirim) October 15, 2015