Ty — the makers of all things Beanie Baby — has come out with a couple of new collectibles: “Sweet Sasha” and “Marvelous Malia.” The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company which also owns the Four Seasons Hotel Chain, says that the dolls are not meant to be a perfect likeness of the Presidents young daughters and insist that the newest editions to the Ty Girlz line aren’t modeled on the Obamas. First Lady Michelle Obama isn’t buying it. Her spokesperson released a statement saying “We feel it is inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes.”
Baby Lifestyles understands the desire to offer young girls a plaything that they can relate to, and there’s no denying that much of the country is fascinated by Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7. But this just smacks of opportunistic marketing, consumerism, exploitation, and greed.
If that’s not sick enough for you, a Jacksonville, Fl, man’s company created and intended to sell a doll named after Caylee Anthony, the 2-year-old Orlando girl whose life was cut tragically short. Her body was found several months after she disappeared, and her mother, Casey Anthony, is charged with first-degree murder in the case.
Only weeks after Caylee Anthony’s remains were found in a bag, Jaime Salcedo’s company, Showbiz Promotions, created the “Inspirational Caylee Sunshine Doll.” The 18-inch doll that sings “My Little Sunshine,” the song Caylee Anthony was heard eerily singing in a home video played on media shows for months, is a tribute to slain toddler who never got a chance to live.
In an attempt to justify himself, Salcedo said, “We want to give … we’re not trying to get rich. We’re putting ourselves at a whole lot of risk.” The doll doesn’t look at all like Caylee Anthony, and Salcedo said he deliberately made it that way so it wouldn’t offend the Anthony family. He also said he plans to donate profits from the doll to a national missing and exploited children’s organization because he wants to use the doll to help promote awareness. “She’ll be a banner for missing and exploited children, and people will know and have a better idea how to handle those situations or stop those situations from happening,” Salcedo said.
When asked why a $29.99 doll has to be sold for that purpose when most people already know Caylee Anthony’s story, Salcedo replied, “The way that they look at it is morbid and all negative, ‘Oh, the little girl is killed.’ They don’t look at the thing that Caylee’s in heaven right now and she’s dancing and singing and she’s joyous and in a better place than any of us here.” Salcedo said he could not name the organization to which donations will be made because he said it violates the organization’s nonprofit rules. He said at least $3 from each sale will go to the nonprofit organization.
These girls are not child actors or musicians in the public eye, signing away their rights by building up an avalanche of consumer goods with their likeness plastered on them. They’re not Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, or any other ‘brand’ created by Disney or Nickelodean. They did not make a conscious decision in their ‘career’ to be in the public eye, so leave this children and their ‘likeness’ alone.