In a case of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Trolls: World Tour is one of this year’s biggest movies. Now it may have something to do with the coronavirus pandemic lockdown but whatever the case, Trolls is big. So, it goes without saying that the makers of the movie were also going to cash in on some Troll merchandise. They have, with one major hiccup. The Poppy doll.
Hasbro, the company behind the Trolls World Tour merchandise, is taking heat for this specific doll and has decided to pull the DreamWorks Trolls World Tour Giggle and Sing Poppy from the store shelves. The seemingly innocent and fun doll, for the most part, is just that. The doll is pink, has rainbow-colored hair and skirt and when you push the button on her stomach she will sing or utter phrases like, “How about a hug?” It’s all innocent aimed at making young girls smile.
However, Poppy has another hidden button that is also supposed to elicit happiness. This button is not really a button but a sensor. The problem with this sensor is its location and the noises Poppy makes when the sensor is activated. The sensor in question is located between Poppy’s legs and when set off, she makes “Whee” sounds. She also makes “Oh” sounds. Uh oh.
Yes, it is definitely a strange place to have a button/sensor. Did the makers even consider this as they were putting the doll together? Obviously not, says over 474,000 parents. This number was generated by a petition which began and was signed on Change.org.
Jessica McMains was the petition’s author and this is how she described its purpose: “Our society is conditioning our children to think pedophilia is ok. 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. 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 affects on a child’s mental/physical health! Sign this petition to get this toy removed from shelves and help #SaveTheChildren! Children are our future and WE are their voice!”
The petition worked. Hasbro reacted quickly to the outcry and has begun removing all the DreamWorks Trolls World Tour Giggle and Sing Poppy from the shelves. It also prompted a response from Hasbro, through their spokeswoman Julie Duffy, in a statement, “This feature was designed to react when the doll was seated, but we recognize the placement of the sensor may be perceived as inappropriate,” Duffy said. “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.” Which they have. But the furor behind this removal has not died down. Here are some of the tweets.
Who’s to say what is fact or fiction here? It’s hard to prove Hasbro’s intent one way or the other here. What is true here in America and across the globe that child sexual abuse and child trafficking are most definitely real and most definitely a major issue. And that is where this story changes.
From what may be a seemingly innocent and horribly positioned sensor button to conspiracy theories by Pizzagate and QAnon whose beliefs are that a cabal of powerful elites is engaging in a massive child trafficking ring. Mike Rothschild, author of The World’s Worst Conspiracies, weighed in on this theory. “The Q movement [QAnon] in general is shot through with hysteria over rescuing imaginary children from the horrors of trafficking and pedophilia” he said via Rolling Stone. “[Obviously], pedophilia and sex trafficking are real and horrible and nobody wants those things to happen. But there is no evidence of organized trafficking rings, pedophilic ‘symbols’ being used by such people, or that Q has contributed to the ‘saving’ of any children.”
One major concern here, though, is how these conspiracies can affect anti-child trafficking advocates. Nola Brantley is the former director of the anti-child trafficking organization MISSEY. She recently spoke with MEL Magazine, “Can a trend like this cause issues for people that are doing real work, who need funding and support, who now see problems because that funding and support is getting divided and spent on people who aren’t even doing real work on the issue? Yeah, I do think that could be problematic for legitimate organizations, especially if these new accounts end up getting more reach online,” she said.
TROLLS WORLD TOUR DOLL REACTION
Among those 474,000 concerned parents is Sam Parker a politician running for the Utah senate. Child trafficking and child sexual abuse are real and horrific problem, but what Parker is saying may be pushing it just a bit. “Is @Hasbro normalizing grooming & facilitating child abuse?” says his tweet. The tweet also includes a 2-minute video by a concerned mother demonstrating how the Poppy doll works and reacts.
Parker also included a tweet attempting to compare a boy’s toy with the Poppy doll.
Is this just a case of a poorly designed child’s toy or is it part of a nefarious goal to groom America’s children? Either way the toy is gone.