January 24th, 2009
10:05 AM ET
9 years ago

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/LIVING/01/22/obama.dolls/art.sasha.malia.dolls.ty.jpg caption="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. Horek

    I'm sure she isn't as upset as you smart Americans have sat there and created in your heads. She's being human. Are Americans really so Simple? Cause these bitter comments are what makes you Not clever to the rest of the World. Get Educated like everyone else that voted correctly!

    January 24, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. Ray

    Now, now, Michelle. Me do think you complain too much. You love the attention but blast the Media? Come, come now. Could it be you are again, not proud of your country?

    January 24, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. Anna, GA

    The dolls don't even look like the children. So, who is the company fooling?

    January 24, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. Jeremiah

    the palin children were thrown into the public eye be cause Sarah palin put there, she kept mentioning her autistic son and her pregnant daughter, plus her daughter was the one on the news and she is an adult and there for fair game, these two Obama girls havent hit puberty yet, they arfe children and they are being exploited for Ty's wallets and nothing else. The company should have asked for permission before using the like ness, if the Obamas want this can be taken care of, it is too much of coincidence that Ty came out wit these two black dolls, right after the Obamas take office... Ty should be ashamed and sued for this crap

    January 24, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. Kitty

    GET OVER IT MICHELLE!!! You promote you husband as a "saint" and that is purely "stupid" especially coming from you "a lawyer"!! And just because you are a "slimmy" lawyer – I guess next thing is law suit against Ty and all JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN!!! How much lower can you & your husband pull this country????

    You should of not had your kids out on stage promoting one as an entertainer and the other as a future lawyer!!!

    January 24, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. John

    They are children of the Obama's and it is THEIR decision where they want the likeness of their children to be. They are not the public's children to use in any situation they please. THey should have at least asked.

    January 24, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. HouseDiva

    well first lady michell; it comes with the territory gurlfriend...that's just the way it is.

    January 24, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. rhoward

    Personally, I am sick of seeing all of the crap on TV advertising Obama or 9/11 or any other so-called commeratives. Don't buy this junk and these greedy pigs will get the message. Hit 'em in the wallet – that's where it hurts these jerks most. Otherwise, they don't give a darn about what you think of them or their tacky junk.

    January 24, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. trut

    sniveller michelle, whats the matter bumbed out you werent paid for all thework you did hyping their profiles?

    January 24, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. Tina

    People are bickering back and forth about the right and wrong aspect of the dolls being marketed. It doesn’t matter what you think about the dolls, the fact is the company defends itself with statements that should be a slap in the face to everyone. They are saying they put no stock in the intelligence of the American people. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence can see where Ty derived their “inspiration”.

    January 24, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  11. JVD

    After what was done to Sarah Palin's children, no democrat should ever, ever complain about their children being the subject of national scrutiny or attention. Michelle should shut up.

    January 24, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. Pat

    I totally agree with the First Lady!

    January 24, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  13. Jane

    No problems here..Michele needs to get a grip. This is a free country and like it or not the kids are public figures. I suppose now she will have Obama issue censorship becasue he is the pres.

    January 24, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  14. Sarah

    I agree with the first lady – it is tasteless and shameful to exploit the names of the first daughters for monetary gain. While Ty most likely intended the naming of the new dolls to be complimentary to Sasha and Malia, the concept is nonetheless tacky.

    January 24, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. Mary

    I guess the REAL problem with Michelle is that NO ONE WILL BUY THESE DOLLS!!! LOL-LOL-LOL-LOL

    And that will show her how not ALL of America voted or wanted them!!!!

    January 24, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. Charles Di Pinto

    After the obvious public backlash we’re seeing, whoever’s responsible for marketing at Ty should probably get ready to enter the job market.

    And if Ty really thinks their marketing strategies are aligned with contemporary consumer culture, then the whole company should get ready for a rough, rough ride through the coming economic storm.

    January 24, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |

    TY, Mattel? Who cares to purchase anything, especially a toy made
    in CHINA? Wal Mart sells anything cheaply Made in China.
    Who needs "expensive toys" anyway. They end up at yard sales.
    The kids want them and don't even play with them!!!! AND, some have
    lead paint!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 24, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Sam

    This is a crime and should be treated so. Horrible! If they don't sell maybe they will stop making toys like this. So do the Obama's a favor and don't buy them!

    January 24, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Larry Hunter

    TY, You shold be ashamed and sued.

    January 24, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Angela

    I voted for Obama but I think Michelle's response is a bit ridiculous. When Barack decided to run for president, their family gave up the whole "private citizen" please protect our privacy thing. If they wanted their kids to have a normal, quiet, private life, they should have remained in Chicago as private citizens.

    January 24, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  21. Cheryl in T.O.

    ' Fearful for our country'

    How dare you say "...just goes to show you, you can't please AA's"!
    How dare you make such a racial slur! You're just another one of those ridiculous racist runts who needs to climb back under that rock you came from. These girls are too young to speak for themselves and I'm sure if your children were being exploited for profit, you would do the same. But then again, maybe not. Maybe you'd be like 'Joe the Plumber', looking for '15 min.of fame' no matter how it comes.
    Show some ethical, moral behaviour – until then, please remain beneath your rock!! Twit.

    January 24, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. Clinton Fringer

    I obamas need to get over it. Not everything is about them and TY is free to use an manes they choose for their product. BTW........tehy are no longer private citizens........guess they didn't read the fine print........and they sire as hell didn't listen to the former families advide for keeping their kids out of the public eye. They used their kids for their advantage and so now they are considered fair game.

    January 24, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Joyce in Florida

    "But they wouldn’t reveal the source of their inspiration for the new figures..."

    They don't need to 'reveal the source of their inspiration'. Everyone knows it's green and has George Washington's picture on it. I won't be buying any of their products for any child in the future.

    January 24, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Independant Thinker

    Well Michelle Obama, GET USED TO IT !!!!

    It goes with the territory.

    Ask the Clintons, ask the Bushes.

    You are public proberty now.

    January 24, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. marquis

    No Hillary = No Obama,

    are you kidding me? obama is some one who chose public service and opened himself up to it....those girls are minors that are being exploited for profit....i cant believe you have the audacity to even defend some corporation trying to make a buck off underage kids. be careful of the position you take

    January 24, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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