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. Pat in IL

    Ty used very poor judgement by doing this. Any parent would be upset with this – especially without getting permission or even notifying the parents in advance. Gross misjudgement! I sincerely hope Ty recalls any of these dolls already on the shelves and never produces any ore of them. By the way, where are these dolls made?

    January 23, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  2. German,Irish American

    Its all President Obama's fault, if he is going to trot his daughters out for votes, he has made them fair game. At least this was the reasoning from most of outraged libs on this site when it came to Palinand her children. LMAO. Once again to quote the Messiah's mentor, The Dishonorable Reverand Wright, "The CHICKENS have come HOOOME to roost". Ah isn't hyprocrispy great libs?

    January 23, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  3. Susan

    I agree with Michelle. She is a good mom.

    January 23, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  4. Jane

    Michelle Obama's attitude is just not right. Sure, sell the dolls. They will quit, who would want them anway? That is just part of being in the media everyday. You simply cannot have it both ways. The media will get back to being the media and boy will we see it then. It is not right, but who cares about right in this country anymore. We are headed in the wrong direction. No morals, no character, no ethics, and you are upset about dolls. Who cares?

    January 23, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Welcome to America. The only country in the world where the daughters of the President are turned into money generating marketing gimmicks.

    January 23, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  6. DIZIZI31

    Mrs. Obama is a lawyer and the names and images are made without her family's permission, I'm thinking lawsuit and Co-Owner of TY. LOL!!

    TY- see what being greedy will get you. Big Mistake on your part.

    January 23, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |

    America is down right mean-grow up

    January 23, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  8. M Paul

    Children of politicians, regular people like me, deserve their privacy. They were not elected, Michelle was not elected... Barack was elected and he is the person to answer our questions....

    January 23, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. Kim J

    If you didn't want the attention on the girls, Obama should have waited eight years to run for president.

    January 23, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |

    BUY ANYTHING TY or that says, "MADE IN CHINA".

    We can "exchange" toys at yard sales that our kids never touched
    and they cost us a fortune, then we would "never" have to buy, "MADE
    IN CHINA again.

    With this economy, yard sales can put WAL MART and TY and MATTELL, (lead paint toys) completely out of business.

    January 23, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  11. Ann

    Very inappropriate. More like exploitation and cheat popularity they dont need. They are babies, for God sake allow them to grow up precious in their parent's eyes. For all of you out there who dont know or who dont care " kids are gifts given to us from God' and as such we need to be gentle, loving and thoughful when we see, hear or think of kids. No matter whose kids they are. Be careful now, today for me , tomorrow for you.

    January 23, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. dustin

    only if i can get a jenna bush blow up doll

    January 23, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. R

    give me a break. I love her, but what did she expect? Some sort of permission from her? If you're popular you will have sort of image somehow. In this case, dolls. Just be happy it's not done in a mockery like a doll of Bush

    January 23, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  14. JM

    I think the compny meant the dolls as a compliament. But, everyone should respect Mrs. Obama's wishes and leave those girls alone. They deserve their privacy.

    January 23, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  15. Amber

    Michelle Obama is right: these children are private citizens who have rights and in this country we protect the rights of others. Period. Saying that they have to just suck it up, get over it, or accept that is a cop out. We should demand and expect more of ourselves, of each other and this country.

    January 23, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. Oh Please!!

    Welcome to the bigtime Mr. President. Suck it up and deal with it man. You wanted to be President. This is what goes along with it. Is it right? Probably not but thats just the way things are. You should have counted the cost before running for Pres.

    January 23, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. Tbone

    I think the ones who need to get over it are those who lost the last election. If you had voted for Obama, then many of you would be opposed to this tasteless and dishonest attempt to use someone else's daughters for profit. If you want to use someone's image, it's common courtesy (and usually a legal requirement) to ask their permission. Since permission wouldn't have been granted, Ty decided to make up this obvious lie. This is repugnant whether the girls parents are Democratic or Republican. Sounds like some of those on the right are also vulnerable to moral relativism...

    January 23, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  18. Fred Finger

    Sorry, Michele you guys marketed those two kids in to your whole package.

    January 23, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  19. Truman

    IAll these people crying foul and saying that kids are off limits...please...why were you not crying foul when Bristol Palin was trampled through the media? If Barak and Michelle had avoided putting their children in the spotlight, then yes, I would say those kids are off limits. But when they dragged them on every stage while campaigning over the last year, had them speak to "daddy" in front of everyone at the DNC to make Barak look like the great family man....then what do you expect? You don't get to have it both ways.

    January 23, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  20. Becky

    The majority that said boo hoo or get over it or that it came with the territory are probably republicans. However I never saw a Jealous Jenna doll made when Bush was in office. I think we should boycott Ty co. I know I will and I will be telling everyone I meet to boycott them also. HATERS!!!!

    January 23, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  21. Jim

    The obama's should find other work. This comes with the job.

    January 23, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. sandy

    I, for one, think those dolls are beautiful. Like it or not the Obama Family, daughters and all, are going to be whom our children look up to as role models. And if those dolls help my own daughter feel proud of her heritage and appreciate her own beauty as opposed to always choosing the "blonde haired, blue eyed" doll, than I'm sorry but I'm all for it! Those dolls do show that their is more to the world than just Bratz dolls and Barbie. The dolls are not painted with make up and not dressed trashy, so whats the problem?

    I think it would speak volumes though if the Ty company did donate a proceed of the profits to some of Michelle and Barack's Charities.

    Think about it!

    January 23, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. Suzanne, Lake Placid

    I think Michelle has an argument, legally, speaking. It's a tort to "appropriate" someone's likeness for profit without consent. Maybe Ty should get some new lawyers before they market their next creation. lol.

    January 23, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  24. DSW

    Perhaps if TY agrees to donate the profits to a children's charity – that might help.
    Sorry but I find Brat's/Barbie dolls even more disturbing.
    I won't let my dauther have them in the house.

    January 23, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  25. Streawmood Bill

    One wonders if John McCain/Sarah Palin had won the election, would Ty have come out with Piper and Trig dolls instead? Or a Ty doll of Palin's grandchild?

    But, hey, it's business and there's a buck to be made.

    January 23, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39