Hasbro announced that they will pull their “Trolls World Tour Giggle and Sing Poppy” doll after an online petition from concerned parents. More than 150,000 people signed the petition to remove the doll. But why was it so controversial in the first place?
Troll dolls actually have an interesting history. Danish woodcarver Thomas Dam made the first troll doll in the late 1950s. They became so popular that he switched to casting the dolls in plastic under the banner of “Dam Things,” which is both hilarious and a terrible idea for marketing children’s toys.
Sadly, he didn’t have the savviest understanding of copyright and struggled to prevent unlicensed knockoffs from flooding the market.
Trolls have gone in and out of fashion since then. They were popular in the 90s, as anyone who grew up in that era can attest, while the mid-Aughts “Trollz” rebranding was a financial disaster.
DreamWorks bought the rights to the brand in 2013. Their animated film was a huge hit. Even though the planned sequel wasn’t shown in theaters because of the pandemic, it provided parents with something new to show their kids when DreamWorks released it on streaming and video-on-demand.
DreamWorks teamed with Hasbro to produce toys based on their new characters. But one particular toy is causing major controversy.
The giggling pink doll based on Queen Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick in the films) will no longer be available for purchase following a public outcry.
See, the thing about this doll is that it is equipped with a hidden button. And that button is on the doll’s crotch. We’ve already stumbled into uncomfortable territory without even knowing what the button does.
As shown in a video on Twitter that has been viewed almost 600,000 times, the cute, big-eyed doll gasps, giggles, and shouts “whee!” when you press it.
Why does it do that? And how did this toy make it through multiple rounds of R&D without a single person suggesting that this secret button was a bad idea?
The video and subsequent petition claim that the toy can be used as a tool for grooming young children by teaching them that inappropriate touching is okay. “What will this toy make our innocent, impressionable children think? That it’s fun when someone touches your private area?” the petition asks.
Hasbro spokeswoman Julie Duffy told The Providence Journal that “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,” the statement concluded.