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. Angela Washington

    You gotta love it! Ever notice that the people who talk the most smack never use their real name... Cowards!

    January 24, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. Rob W in Bethesda, MD

    Honestly – this is no worse than the numerous media articles and photo ops of the 2 girls I've seen written and published so that advertising space can be sold to guess what -> make money. The

    The real tragedy here is that these dolls are probably NOT being made by American workers feeding their American families and building America's economy by working on an American production line. That's the tragedy in this.

    January 24, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Margaret

    What do you expect from a toy company in this economy? It's a gimmick.

    I highly doubt Ty would have come out with a Bristol Palin doll, but I would buy one. My dogs need a new chew toy.

    January 24, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Kay

    What did the Obama's really think was going to happen when they got into the White House. They have let the hype that Obama is the annointed one and all the merchandise that goes with that be done. How could you possibly think that your family who has been in the spotlight you created would not be affected. If this is the worst that happens to involve their children in their spotlight, they will be lucky. These children will have to be perfect and then some before the media considers them a non-story. Let either one of them make any kind of error or faux pas, and they will be ridiculed just like everyone else. When you put yourself in the public spotlight, you need to consider all the consequences, and you can't call foul when you get more than you bargained for.

    January 24, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. Sue

    Mike – I was not aware of the left attacking either Bush's daughters or Cheney's daughter. This is news to me.

    January 24, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Jessica

    When you run for president, your whole family runs to be the "first family"

    They didn't have a problem putting the girls on stage at political rallies. They got what they wanted, and it's not like they didn't know what the price would be.

    Boo hoo. The girls got made into dolls. Better that then what the Palin girl faced.

    January 24, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Kathy K

    I AGREE with Michelle. The goal of making money on the names of the Obama daughters is truly malicious and disgusting! The Beanie Baby business should be ashamed of itself. I love the way the Obamas parent their darling girls...AND I will NEVER AGAIN BUY anthing that this company sells.

    Shame on them! Big time!

    K. Kraft

    January 24, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |

    It's sad to see ALL THIS HATE still out there.

    I thought we had gotten beyond this.

    Bright Blessings to ALL

    January 24, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. George

    Hey No Hillary, Obama ran for President of the United States, his daughters did not.

    January 24, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Louis Roach, Gene Koehler and Wilber Wiley

    We designed the dolls and feel that the dolls are warrented considering the appeal of toys to children. Why not? These children sould be happy they now have been immortialized as Beanie Babies!
    We also accept others point of view, but this has to do with marketing and sells. Ty is in the business to make money. Get over it..

    January 24, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. iwantmyui

    So, letting your husband smack you on your keester in front of the whole wide world to see; now let's see... THAT'S APPROPRIATE???
    Real great message you are sending to our enemies, Obamas; total disrespect; for your position in life. You are suppose to be the Head of our Nation; not the King and Queen of the swweetheart dance! You wanted the job, now show some respect for the people who got you there, and act like you have some dignity and self-respect.....and, dressing like Wilma Flintstone going to her prom... not any fashion sense I need to take notice of.... seems to me the dolls are a step up for you.....

    January 24, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. j

    I think this is one of those "get over it" moments. There's noting offensive about the dolls. They're not meant as an insult so "BUILD A BRIDGE and get over it"

    January 24, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. George

    I would like to say in response to all those who brought up Palin's family, Barack Obama numerous times denounced any attacks on her family as outrageous and insulting. He stated over and over again that family's are off limit in a campaign and said that if any of his staff are found to have used Sarah Palin's family for political purposes, they would be fired on the spot. The Obama's trying to protect their family is not a new thing, this is disgraceful what TY is doing.

    January 24, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Alexandra Sollberger

    This is so inappropriate to use their kids like that!

    Question: Did the kids run for public office or did they?

    If you remember correctly it was President Obama who asked the press to stop attacking the Palin family.

    If I remember correctly he said they were private citizen and off limit to have any personal attack for the palin family

    From what I read here all these people who are making statement
    "shut up Michelle.. ecttt is bitter, ignorant ..

    Question to all of you


    January 24, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. js007

    This is disgusting. It's bad enough crooks have been pushing those worthless "Obama coins" and all kinds of other garbage, but this is really crossing the line. Is EVERYTHING for sale these days?

    January 24, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Shan

    Yeah who is this First Lady's Office, anyway? Oh wait... never mind. It's that whole 'on condition of anonymity' right? Uh huh. Spokeswoman doesn't have a NAME? America, you don't even have to read between the lines there. It's right in your face.

    January 24, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. Gracie

    I agree with Michelle Obama!

    January 24, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. Tom

    What they did was just plain out wrong and you people who are still trying to say that Obama was the wrong pick for President get over it, you people have the brain of a bird.

    January 24, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. Bill

    Ty it's a tragedy that you can't let these 2 young girls grow up as other kids do...your company is another example of the corporate greed that has tanked our nation's economy.

    January 24, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Jay

    People bring up the Palin girls, but you remember Obama was one of the first ones to say the kids were off limits. Whats wrong with some of you people saying kids are fair game. Kids 11 and younger don't have choices in these matters. Don't blame the Obamas, blame Ty.

    January 24, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. gladiatorgal

    Good grief! Do we have nothing more to worry about than dolls being named after the First Family's daughters? Last I looked, this country we know as the United States of America is going down the tubes. I am an African American woman with children and could care less about those dolls and crap like this. If I don't want to buy the dolls, I won't. As far as boycotting Ty, I won't do that either. Heck, in our present climate Americans need to keep companies in business, not put them out of it.

    Everyone who posted had varying opinions about this subject. The freedom to express ourselves is one of the many things that makes America great.

    Suggestion: instead of Mrs. Obama and others whining and complaining about those dolls perhaps you can put your heads together and come up with some real ideas and solutions for moving our country forward to being the great Nation it once was.

    January 24, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. LLT

    What about CNN advertising and selling President Obama's Inaguration t-shirts? Isn't that a conflict of interest? Should a socalled news organization be benefiting from a politician's success?

    January 24, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. paul kyler

    Michelle that is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard.
    The entertainment business has been using "young private citizens"
    for marketing purposes for ions. Can't you come up with something a little better than that? How about..."please do not use the image of our children for marketing persons without their parents permission."

    January 24, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Yes we Can

    To all of you who are criticizing President Obama, don't we had eight years of hell with Mr. Bush. The economy went from surplus to deficit. He is and will always be the worse president in my lifetime.
    Ty should be ashamed, the girsl did not run for president , their father did, leave them alone, they are still small children!

    To the loony who said the dow has been down every since Obama took, office it was down way before that, thanks to Mr. Bush.

    January 24, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. haha

    TNmom: The only Palin child I remember hearing of in the media was Bristol. She was the center of the drama because she was against what Palin stood for and she was irresponsible in getting pregnant at such a young age. I hope Alaska is happy that their taxpayers dollars are going to support an irresponsible child.

    Back to the Obamas – It is what it is. You can't do anything about it now so stop complaining. One day, Sasha and Malia will look back and feel idolized because they had dolls named after them. The Bush daughters never did!

    January 24, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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