No spin from Hasbro could possibly explain how a doll the company manufactures and targets at children could have a button placed in the genitalia area that makes gasping and giggling noises when a child presses it.
A mother who purchased the Trolls World Tour Giggle ‘n Sing Poppy Troll doll as a gift for her young daughter could not believe her ears when the toy started making noises that were not prominently shown on the packaging. According to the description on the box the doll “giggles 3 different ways when she’s tickled [and] sings a fun version of the song, “Trolls Just Want to Have Fun.’”
Jamie Nelson Cornaby shared a Facebook video of a button in between the “super cute” doll’s legs that makes giggling and “gasping” noises when pressed, simulating sexual satisfaction.
“I heard some other sounds that I had never heard before, and if you look, down here, I figured video was the best way … but down here is a button, right here on her privates, and if you push those she makes these sounds,” Cornaby explained.
“Like, a gasping sounds, and I know many of you might not think this is a big deal but, especially since I’ve had kids, this is wrong.”
“As you all know, stuff that’s been going on in the world about the sex trafficking in kids and things that are thrown in our kids’ faces to kind of groom them and make them kind of a little bit more oblivious to things that are really happening,” she noted.
“… There are some things where I thought, maybe, you know, that you like are naive about stuff that’s going on but maybe its never happened to you. And you’re like, really, are they really grooming our kids? Sorry, but I think they are. Because you touch privates and she makes inappropriate sounds. Why? Why does a little girl need that? She doesn’t and actually as a parent that makes me quite mad.”
Another mother, Jessica McManis, started a petition on Change.org accusing Hasbro of promoting the sexual abuse of children and “conditioning our children to think pedophilia is OK,” forcing the company to discontinue the product. Her petition attracted 253,283 signatures from outraged parents around the world.
“Our society is conditioning our children to think pedophilia is OK,” McManis wrote. “This Trolls World Tour doll named Poppy has a button on her private area under her skirt.”
“When you push this button on the doll’s private she gasps and giggles. This is not okay for a child’s toy! This toy needs to be removed from our stores,” she urged.
“What will this toy make our innocent, impressionable children think? That it’s fun when someone touches your private area? That pedophilia and child molestation are ok? It’s not ok! It’s not fun! It’s damaging and has long term [effects] on a child’s mental/physical health!” she wrote.
Many parents on Twitter disputed accusations that the packaging did not describe the crotch button. A mother named Kathy tweeted: “It shows right on the package that if you sit the doll down, here’s the noises it makes … stop feeling up kids dolls.”
Julie Duffy, Hasbro’s senior vice president for global communications told CNN: “This feature was designed to react when the doll was seated, but we recognize the placement of the sensor may be perceived as inappropriate. This was not intentional, and we are happy to provide consumers with a replacement Poppy doll of similar value through our Consumer Care team. We are in the process of removing the item for purchase.”
Frankly, that explanation does not excuse this abominable decision. Whether the doll was seated or not, why would a doll for children make gasping noises when its crotch area is stimulated? There is no room for error and if there was any indication that the button could be misinterpreted by a child or parent as simulating sexual behavior, this toy should never have been manufactured.