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. Needa

    This IS crossing the line. Children are off limits.

    Turn the tables what if Barbie released a Bodacious Belly Bristol? Same thing – sorry!

    January 23, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. Jackie

    Maybe, First Lady Obama would like it better if they were aborted beanie babies.

    January 23, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. Gross

    Kinda gross that a toy company is using children to hawk merchandise. Michelle has never complained about people using Barack because he's an adult and that is how it is. She has every right to be protective of her children. That's what a good mother does.

    For the weirdo repubs here, Lynne Cheney went ballistic when John Kerry simply mentioned her adult daughter, who was working on the campaign trail as a paid staffer.

    January 23, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  4. Kim

    Marketing GENIUS! oh, and Michelle hun, GET OVER IT!

    January 23, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  5. Lawl

    Oh the outrage....the same outrage when the media and you libs were all over Palins daughter...

    January 23, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. ANN



    January 23, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  7. HJW

    I certainly understand the First Lady not wanting someone to exploit their daughters, and impose on their privacy, And I'm sure if they wanted to persue it they could force them to stop. But if there is any upside to it The First family is so popular it would probably help the economy, I would say a win win would be to issue the ultimatum that proceeds be used to benefit one of the Obamas Charities or go toward paying down the national debt. THat would only enhance their popularity and would be in step with their agenda

    January 23, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  8. stacey

    Trying to make a buck off of two innocent girls is tragic. The ONLY way to rectify this situation is to donate ALL profits to a worthy cause of Michelle's choice.

    January 23, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  9. Moe, NY

    TY Corp went too far invading the lives of small children...enough! I, for one, would urge Mrs. Obama to sue...it is the only thing Corporate America understands. I am totally disgusted with TY...bloodsuckers!

    January 23, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. Sue

    No more Beanies for this household.

    January 23, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. Leslie

    Is it kosher for the First Lady to say, "my family will no longer buy toys from this company?" I don't think she'd have to ask anyone else to join her, which wouldn't be, but she wouldn't need to.

    January 23, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  12. Tedra

    Isn't ironic that this would come out on the same day that Obama signed an order that will mean thousands more abortions each year.

    Yes, they are the caring family aren't they. "If we decide not to kill our babies, we don't want anyone exploiting them but us"

    January 23, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  13. Tammru

    What really gets me is TY denies that the Obama girls were the inspiration for these dolls. RRRRRIIGHT! Like naming them "Sasha" and "Malia" was just a coincidence. They should have gotten permission from the Obamas first. (which would not have been granted). Either way, it is inappropriate.

    January 23, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  14. Joe the Troll

    All these people telling her to "suck it up" and get used to it – you know very well that if it were YOUR children, you'd sue for a piece of the action.

    January 23, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  15. Michael

    for the next four years these girls are going to live a life of privelege that 99% of the world will not get. And your complaining about a doll made in their image? Talk about inapropriate whinning!!!

    January 23, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  16. Ken

    Unlike other statements from Ty that said that this was a coincidence, there is absolutely NOTHING coincidental about this move. This is opportunism to the max and the buying public should show its disgust.

    January 23, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. TJ

    Oh no, lets not have dolls or other tacky items of the first family, yet lets go ahead and have voodoo stab dolls, bush bobbleheads, and other distasteful items sold during the Bush administration & family. Go cry me a river !

    January 23, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. AJ in Fla

    Mr. Obama

    I do not agree with you in most areas and I did not voted for you, however as a father of two daugthers I totally simphasize with your anger....!!!!

    January 23, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  19. GuyInVA

    I'm very conservative, but liberal / conservative doesn't matter when it comes to children (at least ones that have already been born). TY is wrong. They may not be legally culpable in any way, but no word other than exploitation fits here. Leave the kids alone. Do those morons think they are fooling anyone when they say they won't reveal the inspiration for their merchandise?

    January 23, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. Penn Voter

    Hey Barry, What did expect? You and your camp fostered the whole "He's the One" Obama Worshipping Cult of Personality and now you act offended that a doll company is using your hype to make a buck?

    Where was your indignation when parents had their little childern chating your name, as though you were the Messiah, on YouTube?

    January 23, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. mary faye brown

    Listen everyone....I have a better idea for a line of dolls

    #1 The Sarah Palin Wal Mart hill billy doll – dressed in cut off jean shorts and a halter top. This dolls comes with a gun and a toy moose. When you pull her string she says cute snippets like "you betcha"


    #2 The Bristol unmarried pregnant teenager doll....push a button on her back and a baby doll pops out of her stomach.

    Also, out next dec. The Levi Johnston un-safe sex boy doll. Comes with a hockey stick and a pair of pants that wont stay buttoned

    January 23, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. Jon in CA

    Funny – Michelle doesn't mind parading her daughters on the political stage, using them as props ... "Hello daddy... Hello daddy...what city are you in" (talking to the big screen picture of Barack)...

    But HEAVEN FORBID a toy company have dolls named Malia and Sasha!!!

    Get over yourself Michelle. You opened pandoras box.

    January 23, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. bsmith171

    get used to it, babe!

    January 23, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. Mike F

    I agree with Michelle Obama! Everyone should BOYCOTT all
    Ty Company products until they remove the Malia & Sasha dolls!
    These girls should be allowed SOME sense of privacy and
    growing up in a family, not a public property!

    January 23, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. chippyarm

    Wow! Can Ty lie anymore than they just did? Then, they say it proprietary how they name their dolls. Who are they fooling? That will save me a few more bucks each year in gifts. It's not a matter of them naming the dolls. The issue I have is that they think they can fool consumers by not telling how they were named/ How arrogant is that?

    January 23, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
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