Remember troll dolls? They’ve been around, like, forever — well, actually just since the 1950s. Smithsonian Magazine relates that these pointy-haired oddities were invented by a Danish baker (a baker from Denmark, not a baker of Danish pastries, since those aren’t actually… oh, never mind) who was struggling to get through another long Scandinavian winter. By the ’60s these dolls were a worldwide phenomenon, but then by the ’80s, they had pretty much gone away, at least in the U.S., replaced by Cabbage Patch Kids.
Fast forward a few decades, and troll dolls are back, big time, having spawned a successful movie franchise. So yes, there was first a toy, which led to a movie (and more movies), which led to more toys. Media Merchandising 101. With the latest generation of Trolls movie dolls, though, there’s a serious problem — a design flaw, but a really, really unfortunate one that basically makes what should have been an innocent kids’ toy into something, well, kind of creepy.
Why this Trolls doll is so disturbing
The troubled Trolls doll is the Dreamworks Trolls World Tour Giggle and Sing Poppy doll, and the problem lies with just what makes her giggle. As with many battery-operated talking toys, there’s a button you push, but, as a Change.org petition points out, one of those buttons is located in an extremely inappropriate place. As the petition describes it, this button can be found “on her private area under her skirt,” which… ooh, no way that’s not bad. The petition goes on to make this clear, asking “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?”
Luckily, Hasbro didn’t take much convincing once Poppy’s misplaced “happy button” was pointed out. In a statement given to the Providence Journal, a spokesperson for Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based Hasbro explained that the company never intended to be trolling us, and the design flaw was entirely unintentional: “This feature was designed to react when the doll was seated, but we recognize the placement of the sensor may be perceived as inappropriate.” Hasbro also vehemently denied rumors spread by online conspiracy theorists that the toy was meant to groom kids for sex trafficking (via Lead Stories).
Hasbro will be replacing any dolls purchased with more innocent Poppys and, needless to say, is also “in the process of removing the item for purchase.” Umm, yes, please. Because… eww. Nothing says ruined childhood like a tainted Trolls doll.
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