February 3rd, 2009
03:16 PM ET
6 years ago

Ty 'retires' controversial Malia and Sasha dolls

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

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

(CNN) - Controversy forced the withdrawal of two more figures from the public scene Tuesday, but these were not named Daschle or Killefer.

Ty Inc. - the company that brought the world Beanie Babies - bowed to pressure from the White House and "retired" dolls named Sweet Sasha and Marvelous Malia Tuesday.

The 12-inch-tall dolls, which bear a resemblance to the first family's Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, were introduced last month as part of the Ty Girlz collection.

Watch: First daughter dolls?

First Lady Michelle Obama's press secretary said it was "inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes."

While the dolls still appeared on the Ty Web site Tuesday, a red banner above them read "Retired."

The retirement of the dolls came as the Obama administration announced the withdrawal of two nominees because of controversy over tax issues. Former Sen. Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination as health and human services secretary and Nancy Killefer withdrew as the nominee to become the Obama administration's chief performance officer.

While a forced withdrawal may hurt a politician's standing, it apparently bolsters a doll's value.

Just after the Ty announcement - a set of the Sweet Sasha and Marvelous Malia dolls had reached $152 in one eBay auction Tuesday afternoon.

Ty sold the dolls for $9.99 each during the three weeks the dolls were on the market.

A Ty executive insisted last month that the dolls had nothing to do with President Barack Obama's young daughters.

Ty Senior Vice President of Sales Tania Lundeen said "Sasha and Malia are beautiful names" that "worked very well with the dolls we were making."

Filed under: Obama family
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Mari

    Good, to have done this WITHOUT the approval of President & Mrs. Obama showed a total lack of respect!

    February 3, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. Jim

    Ha! People are already trying to sell them on Ebay for as much as $50.

    February 3, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. legal in nc

    In whats left of our free market society it's a shame that a company can't market something because the White House says so. They should have given the Obamas (Chicago Thugs) a cut from the sales and they would have been able to keep on allowing these dolls to be sold to benefit both their company and the Obamas.

    February 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. Bill

    The First Lady was right–Too much pressure on her girls I think. I mean ....Dolls?

    February 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    And good riddance!

    From a mom of two girls. I would be furious to have my girls publicly portrayed like this.

    February 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Sylvia

    The 12-inch-tall dolls, which bear a resemblance to the first family's Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, were introduced last month as part of the Ty Girlz collection.

    what resemblance????????????????????????????????????????

    February 3, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Lillie

    GOOD!! Malia and Sasha are beautiful names and should never be exploited for profit!!!!

    February 3, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Glennis

    They bear no resemblence to the Obama girls. But having said that, it's pretty obvious that the people who put these thiings out is trying to take advantage of the first family. I wouldn't buy them whether I liked Obama or not. If it were my family they were using, I'd sue 'em.

    February 3, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. Meka

    The "Boycott" worked!

    February 3, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. Sidmore

    What was so wrong with Sasha and Malia dolls? First, the Obamas do not own a copyright on those names. Second, they should be happy that little African American girls will have dolls that look like them. It is such a selfish act and really turns me off and it smacks of elitism. And this comes from someone who voted for you, President Obama.

    February 3, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. I witnessed history!

    Of course they 'retired' them b/c they knew they were wrong to use the names without the first lady's consent from the get go no matter how they tried to cover it.

    February 3, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. No Hillary = No Obama

    I wonder how many lawyers were involved in this strong arm?

    February 3, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. shoegazer

    It never ceases to amaze me how these parasitic companies will sink to the lowest common denominator to try and make a buck.

    February 3, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. Reality Check

    That's too bad. What happened to our contry based on CAPITALISM?

    I can hear the SOCIALISM knocking at our door....

    Watch out America!

    February 3, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. Angela

    Ty should also donate the profit made from the dolls to a charity of Malia and Sasha Obama's choice.
    Who did Ty company think they were fooling? It was no coincidence that a few days after the inauguration these names were selected. Why didn't they use Tasha and Shana? Katrina and Daphne? Capitalism at it's best/worst...

    February 3, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. Mike


    Are you so blind as to think that the names of the dolls are what this is all about?

    It makes me wonder if you have any young daughters yourself. I'll admit that I don't either, but I at least know that I would not like the ideas of others profiting off of my children. Since when is protecting your children elitist? Parental permission is required by law to do things such distribute likenesses of a minor.

    February 3, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. Chuck

    You voted for Obama and now, because they dont want their little girls exploited for comercial reasons, now you think he's elitist?
    Really? This is what made you think, after all this time being a supporter of his, NOW you think he's elitist?
    I guess your right, it is elitist in that their not trying to exploit unknowns for comercial purposes.

    February 3, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  18. Perusing-Through


    There are $Billions being made out there and in all types of ways just by stamping Obama or "YES WE CAN" on the product. But TY took it too far when it stole the names of President Obama's daughters and to use it to market it’s first ever "Beanie Babies" of color. That was no coincident. Shame on you TY! Shame on you!

    February 3, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  19. Dan

    What does Obama-Mama has got to say here. She is keeping quiet.
    It would have been better if TY had to pay some royalty to Barack/Michelle. They usually take that kind of money.

    February 3, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. Jackie in Dallas

    It doesn't require a lot of lawyers to see that this was inappropriate. It was no secret that Ty was trying to make money off of dolls based on the First Family. By any stretch of the imagination, what the Obamas did was to protect their children from being capitalized on, something most parents would understand, and that I, as a childless woman, can certainly understand.

    It is not socialism to protect your family from exploitation. Nor did it probably take any type of strongarm techniques. Ty has been known to jump first then find out that their decisions were not too smart before; this is just another example. Children's images and names, whether they are in the White House or the poorhouse, are protected from exploitation.

    February 3, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. Debby

    Oh brother it was okay though when the pre-inauguration stuff of the Obama's ad-nauseum was sold everywhere, but now its wrong to have the dolls out.

    February 3, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. Lynn in NM

    Private citizens? If you had wanted your daughters to stay private citizens, your husband shouldn't have run for public office. They are now celebrities, as are you. Sorry Michelle. You can't take just the perks without paying your dues.

    February 3, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  23. My2Cents

    My question is why were dolls named after 10 and 7 year old girls made with "breast-bumps"? Ridiculous.

    "Ty Senior Vice President of Sales Tania Lundeen said "Sasha and Malia are beautiful names" that "worked very well with the dolls we were making." Yeah, just add "sweet" to Sasha and "marvelous" to Malia and you got "redlight" district sounding names. What creeps

    February 3, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  24. Don't Mess Around With Jim ...

    There are some Americans with principles ... thank the lord.

    I am sure it was the voices of many thousands of those Americans, telling Ty that the exploitation of Sasha and Malia was a financial danger to the corporation, that made them see the light.

    Oh, it's also not wise to get on the bad side of the President or the 1st lady in a public relations dispute.

    February 3, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. Simmy

    Their website was also flooded with negative comments. They had no choice. Next time think before exploiting.

    February 3, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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