January 24th, 2009
10:05 AM ET
6 months ago

Michelle Obama: 'Inappropriate' to use daughters to sell dolls

Ty, the maker of Beanie Babies, is introducing two new Ty Girlz dolls named Marvelous Malia and Sweet Sasha.
Ty, the maker of Beanie Babies, is introducing two new Ty Girlz dolls named Marvelous Malia and Sweet Sasha.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – They’ve been in the White House less than a week, but the first daughters have already been co-opted by marketers — and Michelle Obama isn’t happy about it.

Ty, the toy company responsible for the popular Beanie Babies dolls, is now marketing “Sweet Sasha” and “Marvelous Malia” dolls.

The first lady’s office said Friday Ty was out of line. “We feel it is inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes,” said a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama in a statement.

A Ty representative told CNN the company generally avoids naming dolls for “any particular living individual,” because doing so might interfere with how kids use their imaginations to play with them. But they wouldn’t reveal the source of their inspiration for the new figures, telling CNN that information relating to the development of the company’s merchandise - including how it comes up with products, product names, and trademarks – is proprietary.

Related video: First lady miffed by 'Malia,' 'Sasha' dolls

–CNN White House Producer Becky Brittain contributed to this report.


Filed under: Michelle Obama • Obama family • Popular Posts
soundoff (966 Responses)
  1. Mickey

    We will see whose property it is after the law suit.

    January 23, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  2. Pamma

    This inexcusable.
    Pamma

    January 23, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. CCT

    Yeah, Michelle, it should have been your likeness then you would have been a happy momma. Wake up, Michelle, you are no longer a private citizen....that comes with the territory.

    January 23, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. blair

    Michelley get over it. you wanted fame and fortune you got it.

    January 23, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Mary

    Private citizens??! This is a joke, right? Malia and Sasha are public figures. All of the presidents' children are. The first lady and her husband should have thought of that before he ran for president.

    January 23, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  6. Dennis Lee Hoffman, citizen of the world

    It's obvious people aren't buying that many beanie babies these days and Ty was looking for a way to make some dough. I wish they would make ones of Cheney and Bush so we coud use them as voodoo dolls.

    January 23, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. Matt

    BS...it's just a cloud of smoke on the part of TY to sell their dolls in a bad economy.

    January 23, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. carol

    Leave the girls alone. The president's daughters should not be subjected to this. It is inappropriate.

    January 23, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  9. Independent_me

    While Ty is doing something that they themselves say that they normally would not do, I think that Michelle Obama should cut them a break because if TY increases production, this would create jobs. Ty was once humming with their beanie babies until they screwed it up and destroyed demand with their botched marketing. This may give the company a boost and create some jobs in the meantime.

    In any case, I am always suspicious of statements that claim to represent what public officials feel when those statements do not identify who (from the First Lady's office, for example) actually made the statement.

    News media like to use this ploy when no actual statements were made, but when they want to make their opinion seem like legitimate announcements.

    January 23, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. miguel

    Goes with the territory.

    January 23, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  11. george

    If the good lord came back to earth, the money changers would be sell him like he was a piece of candy. For the blood suckers anything for a buck.
    If I had a child I would not buy any of their products, lets send them a message, that says NO THANKS.
    george

    January 23, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  12. JerryD

    Welcome to the real world and a total loss of privacy.

    January 23, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  13. Shame on Ty!

    This unscrupulous company won't get any more of my hard earned money.

    January 23, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  14. Whizz

    That's it! I'm not purchasing anymore TY Corporation merchandise.

    January 23, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. Helen,Ft Lauderdale

    This is totally disgusting. Using those sweet girls to make money is dowright low. If people have any conscience they should not buy these dolls.

    January 23, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Very Inappropriate ! And very exploitive !

    I'm sure there are better ways to stimulate ones own economy .

    January 23, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. Doug

    Seems at least two of the Obamas can stimulate a small portion of the economy, I guess Democrats do not like that?

    January 23, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  18. JO

    Michelle's spokeswoman forgot to add " unless the Obamas get a cut of the profits'........

    January 23, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. catmom

    Why is it that the MSM keeps trying to make the Obamas out as being angry and mad. How about annoyed. It was the same thing with Obama being annoyed at the questions he was asked when he visited the press room. They are annoyed, not angry . Now you'll have all the Obama haters writing about Mrs. Obama being an angry Black women and President Obama being an angry Black man. Be afraid people, be afraid...She felt it was inappropriate to use her daughters to sell dolls. Why is that a problem (especially if they don't receive anything from it)? And please CNN, stop blowing things out of proportion.

    January 23, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. nourisha

    there is nothing secret or proprietary about the marketing behind these dolls. at least they don't look like the girls. that would be crazy. but honestly, i would love to buy them for my niece. there are so few cute black dolls on the market. and don't get me started on the lack of latina and asian dolls!

    January 23, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  21. kayla

    THE NERVE.

    January 23, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. Merle

    Not too full of herself! What makes her think they're "her kids"... Its not all about you Michelle!

    January 23, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  23. Pepou

    Michelle Obama is absolutely right. Her daughters are NOT for sale. Shame for the commercialization of private citizens.

    January 23, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  24. Bob

    Too bad, Michelle - you wanted the limelight - you got it!

    January 23, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  25. Michael Kennedy

    gee, maybe your husband shouldn't have run for president then. If you really thought that your family could move into the White House and your daughters were going to live a "normal" life outside of the fish bowl then you got some very bad advice.

    January 23, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
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