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. Southerner

    Sounds like a problem for TY. All the Obamaniacs are opposed to "using" the kids names. The rest of use just have no interest in buying Obama dolls. Who's the market for these?

    January 24, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. NoMwit

    I can't wait for the Bristal Palin Doll. cool feature- press the tummy and watch it grow.

    ty you suck

    January 24, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Larry

    Oh will ALL of you PLEASE GET A LIFE!

    With all the schlock that's been selling with Obama on it, coins, dishes, etc....etc...etc.... now you're complaining about dolls?

    Why weren't you all complaining when we were inundated with all the stupid adverts for all that other stuff???

    ALL of you, including Ty, NEED TO GET A LIFE and MOVE ON!

    Is there NOTHING else happening in the news this week???

    January 24, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Vilma Montfort

    I think since the dolls are made with good taste is not hurting anyone. There is still freedom of speech in this country and I think it applies in this case. Maybe Ty ought to give a % of its profits, towards a charity of the girls' choice, maybe the village where their grandpa came from. It could be in the form of equipment to get fresh water so women don't have to go miles to get it or housing materials, or school materials. Many good things could come out of these dolls, if people think positive instead of negative.

    January 24, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    To those of you who claim that the Obamas exploited their children
    for their own advantage and now complain about the public use of their names, has it occurred to you that maybe the parents wanted their children to experience the fullness of the Presdential Inauguaration – a once in a lifetime experience?

    January 24, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. jason

    why are you people so harsh. Michelle Obama has every right to get upset about this.

    January 24, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Death of America by Obama

    oh sit down and shut up.

    January 24, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Texas Trail Kitty

    To No Hillary = No Obama: Guess you were the only one who felt he couldn' be elected without her. Now he's her boss. Get over it. I agree with Michelle that Ty Warner is exploiting her daughters, but they are not private citizens anymore, they are First Children. They are the top junior role models in America. Personally, I'd buy the dolls, not in entrich Ty, but to honor these lovely youn girls.

    No Hillary = No Obama, why don't you get another signature? Yours is outdated and INCORRECT. HE WON!

    January 24, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. Terry Mathis

    It is both amusing and sad to see both the far left and right views posted here. The more middle of the road view is the first lady. The Obamas' young children deserve better than this sort of treatment.

    January 24, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Jane in Maine

    The kids should be off limits. Barbara and Jenna were left alone after several incidents that were widely publicized. Has to go both ways for kids of Democrats, as well as Republicans. Off Limits!! Stop your whining about having lost the election. It is so bush/cheney like. We are in this position because of those two baffoons that have FINALLY left the White House. Sit back and watch a leader work.

    January 24, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. Capitalism at work

    Turning the First Daughters into dolls and selling them may not seem right, but that's the price when your dad is the President. Whether right or wrong, you lose much of your privacy when you're a high profile celebrity, which the girls are now.

    January 24, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  12. Louis in Los Angeles

    I'll agree with the previous two presidents Clinton and Bush that when it comes to the first families children it should be hands off. Once they are adults that's another story.

    January 24, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. Willa PA

    Obama and Michelle are one thing, the girls are not, they did not parade them during the primaries and should not be exploited...Palin did parade her kids for all the world to see on stage...

    January 24, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Angela

    I find it distasteful and greedy. However, the company has a right to try to make money - but it these dolls are not MADE in the USA or possibly filled with lead paint, etc......I think I would cross them off my list. I no longer purchase anything unless it is MADE in the US, and yes at times it is hard, sometimes more expenseve and also sometimes hard to determine, but I am getting better every day. Also saved me a ton of money putting "stuff" not Made in the USA back on the shelves during Xmas.

    As to Palin's "young lady", she also was put out on the campaign trail, with the mother touting her policy of zero education on birth control, except absanence. People had a right to point out to the "policy maker" just how it surely did not work.

    January 24, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. danielle

    This article seems to be a tad over dramatic. The president’s daughters are going to be constantly in the public eye now. I would think that Michelle Obama would figure the girls would be looked up to because of her husband presidential election. They have had already been identify as fashion icons for their age. I do not see why Michelle Obama has an issue with have Ty making dolls of her daughters. On Mrs. Obama part, she should expect that marketing/companies are going to ask the girls to be role models and be on future campaign ads. The two girls already have little kids look up to them, and by having a doll of their favorite Obama daughter should feel honored. There are going to be more companies wanting these two cute, innocent girls as role models for the company. It just seems that Ty got to them first. The Ty Company made a smart marketing move for their company by making dolls of the two girls. But in the end, there seems to be more missing in this article. And lastly, I feel that they can just make a doll without asking the parents.

    January 24, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Willa PA

    Obama and Michelle are one thing, the girls are not, they did not parade them during the primaries and should not be exploited...Palin did parade her kids for all the world to see on stage...

    "No Hillary = No Obama" , are you STILL upset, get a life>>>

    January 24, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Corey

    I'm so friggin SICK of the stupid Obama "Craze". This guys in ONLY in office because people thought it would be "Cool" to be part of history and vote for the first black (and UNQUALIFIED) candidate. Well you morons, you got it. Now his stupid wife thinks just because you morons elected her husband she has all this power.

    GET OVER your stupid self. Even IF TY used them as a marketing idea, so did your husband. Get over your selves and get over this guy who is going to destroy our country.

    Military member and VERY unhappy with the direction our government is taking...

    January 24, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |

    I am pretty pissed at this TY company using the Obama girls to cash in. This is our time people. Let us voice our opinion by boycotting that company for 6 months – just to teach them a lesson. There are enough International companies, I should say there are enough Chinese factories making money with the Obama name and sending that money to China. I don't know what else, where else or who else is taking advantage. People buy american, and use your money wisely. Let the Obamas be. The only way you can help the Obamas is to let them be.

    January 24, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. sue

    The first lady is correct.

    January 24, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. Jean Bryant

    Or you kidding me? to all of you negative people I say "Leave those precious children alone." As a matter of fact your opinions don't matter! Do yourselves a favor and go out and be a blessing to some one in your community. Malia and Sasha are not public citizens they are children who's dad happens to be the president! Leave the children alone! Stop trying to make a $ by using them.

    January 24, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. Steph

    Get over it Michelle. All of your parading of your children, yourself, and your husband for years and as usual Michelle wants to be in the spotlight.....Must be difficult Michelle when you want to be in glow the media, but your husband is........It is going to be a long four years if we have to listen to Michelle and her whining. Michelle is just ticked off because they did not name a doll after her.. Michelle the premadonna.

    January 24, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. SrNanny

    The Ty company should be made to remove these dolls from the market. This company and it's owner have no integrity. He is such a jerk who created false scarcity of the items, sucking collectors in and charging hundreds of dollars for his crappy animals.

    January 24, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Natalie

    Yes it is ridiculous that Ty would make these for profit, perhaps if they donated all proceeds to a charity it would be acceptable after permission from the Obama parents.
    You know the girls are going to want to buy the dolls that represent them.
    Notice how Ty didnt make any for the Bush girls!

    January 24, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Ernestine

    TNMom- The obama girls were not paraded and as for palin kids there mother paraded them around everytime Carabou Barbie was in the media there were her kids in tow

    January 24, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. jesuino leduino rosa

    It is so sad people do no respect privacy.

    January 24, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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