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. Shelia

    I truly believe we are more concerned about these dolls than the Obamas. I'm positive the media went to Michelle for a responsive about the dolls. She didn't call them or Ty. Why give a pedophile a toy that he can eventually harm. Yes, any parent can see this is morally wrong. The Obamas are a tough family and I'm sure they have moved on and so should we. Whats the topic for next week?

    January 24, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Jennifer - American in Canada

    I agree that it's inappropriate to use Malia and Sasha to sell dolls....but the flip side of this is positive and shows that children of colour can be marvelous and sweet too. It is good for all children to know that "beauty comes in different colours" even in beanie dolls.

    January 24, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Nola

    For all you people stating that the Obama's were talking about the Palin's get educated – HE stated that Sarah children were off limit – that all issues involving her children were not to be discussed. Michelle never made a statement about Sarah's children – Please get your facts together before you write false statements

    January 24, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Max

    Really? Leaving this non-story open for almost 400 comments, and closing the article about Boehner's interview after 9 comments? The author even asked for commentary in that one. What's the deal, here?

    January 24, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Ken

    Yeah, and lets make a doll for Sarah Palin shwoing her pregnant, and her baby and Sarah Palin's baby, etc. Lets just exploit everybody.

    January 24, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Reality

    Get used to it and stop whining. No one MADE your husband run for President.

    Obama has hinted at censorship time and time again. Is this where America is headed?

    January 24, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Afraid

    Michelle, if the girls names were Sarah or Amy, would you be saying anything? I don't see O'bama in the name of these dolls. YOU are the one who has brought this down on your girls. I hope this remains a free country. Even if he had added "O'bama" you made your children PUBLIC figures when you entered politics and LET them be splashed all over the news and magazines.

    January 24, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Joan , Ontario

    The Ty company used very poor judgement making these dolls and naming them after the first daughters. Something like this is unprecedented and hopefully they will be boycotted. At the least the Obamas should have been asked in the beginning but they obviously knew they would have rejected the idea because it is exploitive and a huge intrusion of the girl's privacy. It is a huge PR blunder and instead of lamely trying to say it is a coincidence that the dolls are named Malia and Sasha, they should apologize and not sell any more dolls. If they legally can sell the ones they have made, every penny should go to a charity that will help poor children in your country. This company should not make a cent of profit off of this gimmick.

    January 24, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Vickie

    The Obama girls were rarely on the campaign trail, Palin drug her children..including the infant everywhere! Palin more so than the Obama's asked for media coverage. Move on...get over it!!

    January 24, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Willy Brown

    Get over it mamma

    January 24, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Sultan

    I think it is the first lady who can only decide what is best for her daughters. What surprises me is the numbreeof comments on this page. US people are so excited to have the Obamas in the white house. I pray he will be up to the expectations and he brings peace to my beloved country-Palestine.

    January 24, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. alexa

    The family is in the public eye now. They need to get over it.

    January 24, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. JKT

    Some of the comments on here are COMPLETELY out of line. For example, "JO" claims the Obamas would not object if they were getting a cut of the profits. JO, you have absolutely zero basis for saying this and it's therefore slander. How about because you opened yourself to public scrutiny by posting here we take pictures of your kids and make dolls out of them? That would be just as inappropriate. Here's a thought–try being civil (and human) before you post.

    January 24, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. DWoods

    I will not be purchasing one of these dolls. Companies exploiting children for their own gain is over the line.

    January 24, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Warda

    Woaw Top of news...

    January 24, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. ddc

    Outrageous! The Obamas didn't put their daughters on the cover of People magazine just so they'd become pop-culture fodder!

    January 24, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. Rudy

    Shame on those who buy such stuff. If no one buys these dolls, TY will not make these. Be responsible consumers and companies like TY will be straightened out.

    January 24, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. David Dean

    I'm going with Dennis Lee on this one!!!
    (see #2)

    January 24, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Jenny

    It is wrong and the only way to show you think it is wrong is to not purchase the dolls. But, as we all know the mighty dollar out weighs what is right or wrong. These will be all over ebay.

    January 24, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. Jim

    Goes with the territory.
    So, don't whine Michelle.
    And if you can't stand the heat, go out of the kitchen.

    January 24, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. Emil, Franklin, TN

    Good issue.

    Now go after the Brats dolls. They encourage immoral behavior.

    January 24, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. mark

    Why is she complaining? The Obama's are used to selling things for money...his old Senate seat (barely used!..just like new with leather!), his votes..you name it. Just give the money to Soros or Moveon...that'll make ya feel better Michelle

    January 24, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Jackie

    Michelle,hate to say it, its just the beginning. You are now public figures so get used to it. Ty....go for it. I think its wonderful that you have finally made little black dolls that black and white children can enjoy TOGETHER. So, you saw a great opportunity and made the most of it. Great. Isnt that what most people do.

    January 24, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. Gabriela

    I agree with Michelle. Ty try something else.

    January 24, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. 30m-PA-Democrat-voted Clinton then McCain

    What did you expect, Michelle? You're in the spotlight now. Are you still proud of America? lol

    January 24, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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