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Toymaker Hasbro has pulled its “Trolls World Tour Giggle & Sing Poppy” doll from shelves after a wave of complaints that a button, located between the troll toy’s legs, was “inappropriately placed” and that the toy encourages the normalization of sexual exploitation of children.
CNN reports that Hasbro pulled the toy after a petition, circulated online, accusing the toymaker of placing a button that makes the toy talk in a “private area under her skirt,” garnered more than 150,000 signatures.
“The ‘DreamWorks Trolls World Tour Giggle and Sing Poppy’ has a button on her stomach that when pressed will prompt the doll to sing and say phrases like, ‘How about a hug?’” the outlet reported.
Photos and videos posted online, though, show a second button, located between the doll’s legs, “that when pressed will cause the doll to make sounds such as ‘Whee!’ and ‘Oh!’” per CNN. A video, demonstrating the button, has gotten more than half a million views according to the network.
Moms.com reports that a parent who posted the video calls the button and its sound effects “disturbing,” and relates the doll back to the “sex trafficking of kids,” a hot topic in online parenting forums following the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell. Maxwell, the former girlfriend of convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, is alleged to have been the mogul’s chief “recruiter,” identifying and approaching young women, and then grooming them to have sex with Epstein and his high-profile “friends.”
“Things that are thrown in our kids’ faces to groom them. I know some of you may not think this is a big deal, but especially since I’ve had kids, this is wrong,” the video’s narrator, who claims her daughter received the doll as a birthday gift, concludes. “What will this toy make our innocent, impressionable children think? That it’s fun when someone touches your private area? That pedophilia and child molestation are okay?”
Facebook, Moms.com points out, has flagged the video as “partly false” information. The social media platform notes that the button “triggers giggly sounds” only when the doll is placed in a “sitting position.” Other news outlets, like Rolling Stone, connected the troll doll incident to online conspiracy theorists who claim that “a cabal of pedophiles is running a massive child sex trafficking ring” that spans the globe.
Hasbro acknowledged the doll’s design issues but said the button’s location is accidental. The toymaker is, however, pulling the toy from store shelves and offering a replacement toy to consumers who purchased the doll.
“This feature was designed to react when the doll was seated, but we recognize the placement of the sensor may be perceived as inappropriate,” the company noted in a statement. “This was not intentional and we are happy to provide consumers with a replacement Poppy doll of similar value through our Consumer Care team. We are in the process of removing the item for purchase.”