Hasbro announced this week it is pulling the DreamWorks Trolls World Tour character doll Giggle ‘n Sing Poppy after complaints about the doll having a button like sensor in its crotch that plays giggles, gasps and other sounds of pleasure when pressed or triggered. The placement and sounds of the crotch button sensor raised concerns by parents that children would be conditioned to believe that letting someone touch them in their privates was okay. Hasbro said the button sensor was placed to make noises when the doll was in a seated position and that the inappropriate perception of the button sensor was “not intentional”, but one wonders if the working title for the design was ‘Giggle ‘n Gasp’, not Giggle ‘n Sing”.
Viral video of an outraged parent demonstrating the crotch button:
This is disturbing. This is intentional grooming. Normalizing inappropriate behavior. Those saying that there is no sinister intent because it said so on the box and that its just a poor design FOH. #TrollsDoll pic.twitter.com/ej6t8bGInO
— (@fknkaren) August 5, 2020
Facebook video by another outraged parent (fact checked by Facebook as “partly false”):
A petition on Change.org calling for the doll to be removed from sale was rapidly closing in on its goal of 500,000 signers as of publication of this article Sunday.
“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!”
Hasbro’s product description fpr the Spring 2020 release of Giggle ‘n Sing Poppy makes no mention of a crotch button on the doll but notes “When you sit her down, she makes other funny sounds, too!”
DreamWorks Trolls World Tour Giggle ‘n Sing Poppy
(Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $29.99 /Available: Fall)
DreamWorks Trolls Poppy is more adorable than ever with the Giggle and Sing Poppy Toddler doll. This adorable singing doll stands over 12 inches tall from the tips of her toes to the top of her hair, giggles 3 different ways when she’s tickled, sings a fun version of the song “Trolls Just Want to Have Fun” from DreamWorks Animation’s feature film Trolls World Tour, and says 5 different phrases, too, like, “How about a hug?” and “Um, cupcake!” When you sit her down, she makes other funny sounds, too! The doll also features rainbow-colored hair with a comb so kids can style it. She also includes a matching rainbow dress that comes off, so kids can put it back on for dress-up fun. This musical toy is a great gift for girls 4 years old and up, or any fan of the DreamWorks Trolls movies. Available at Walmart.
Hasbro spokeswoman Julie Duffy emailed a statement on the removal of the doll from sale to the Providence Journal. Hasbro is based in Providence, Rhode Island.
“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 spokeswoman Julie Duffy said Wednesday afternoon in an email to The Providence Journal. “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 USA Today fact checker believes Hasbro that the design of this doll to gasp and giggle when touched in the crotch was “not intentional”:
Our finding: Partly false
Our research shows that the doll does have a “giggle” button located in an area that could be referred as near its “private parts.” It would be misleading, however, to suggest the design was deliberately linked to “grooming” children for sex. Hasbro says the button’s placement was not intentional but recognizes that it may be perceived as inappropriate. We rate the claim that the doll was designed to groom children as PARTLY FALSE, based on our research.
Rolling Stone blamed conspiracy theorists for the controversy:
How QAnon and Pizzagate Conspiracy Theorists Got a ‘Trolls’ Doll Pulled From Stores, A rumor about a doll from the ‘Trolls’ franchise is a master class in how conspiracy theories spread.
What Rolling Stone doesn’t understand is that most people will see this doll as extremely inappropriate regardless of intention. However, it doesn’t take much of an imagination in today’s culture to think that Hasbro designers knew what they were doing with the placement and sounds of the crotch button sensor on the doll.