"Lil' Monkey" Doll Pulled From Shelves

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    Aug 13, 2009 4:30 PM GMT
    Greensboro, NC -- A Triad man's complaint led to a doll being pulled from Costco shelves across the Northeast and Southeast.

    A man complained the doll, packaged with a plush monkey, was offensive as he bought it at the Costco store on Wendover Avenue on July 30, said James Stafford, store manager.

    The "Cuddle with Me" doll package he complained about includes an African-American doll and a plush monkey. The baby doll is wearing a hat that reads, "Lil' Monkey."

    The dolls were sold exclusively at Costco stores in the Northeast and Southeast.

    The complaint from Greensboro was the only one the company received, according to Art Jackson, Costco's vice president of general administration

    Why are people offended?

    "It's unfortunate that someone was offended," Stafford said.

    "At best, this, to me, exhibits someone without a sensitivity to some of the background within the country to which he or she lives." said Gwendolyn Bookman, director of Global Studies at Bennett College.

    "When I look at this, I don't personally find it offensive. But, again, with today's climate and politically-charged issues, I can see how other folks could take offense to it," said Doug Carter.

    He and his wife, Caroline, said they call their own children "monkeys."

    "It's one of our many little cute pet names for them. And, that's probably part of the reason why we don't see anything necessarily wrong with it just on its face," he said.

    Bookman said the "Lil' Monkey" label is a reminder of racist remarks in the past comparing African Americans to monkeys.

    "We have an obligation, I think as citizens of this country, to be aware of our history and to be aware of the kinds of things that raise concerns for those of us who live in this society," she said.

    What other versions were available?

    Jackson said there were also Caucasian and Hispanic versions of the doll packaged with the monkey. All three wore hats that read, "Lil' Monkey."

    All three versions have been pulled from shelves.

    "There are sensitivities that perhaps should have been understood," Jackson said.

    "We did not intend to offend," he said.

    The designer of the toy, The Brass Key, also makes a similar doll that includes a panda in the package instead of a monkey.

    The panda products remain on the shelves. The panda is sold with Caucasian and African-American dolls, Stafford said. The doll wears clothing that reads, "Pretty Panda."

    What is reaction from the doll's maker?

    "Somewhere along the production line of this doll, whether it was in the store, at the manufacturer, or somewhere, someone should have noticed that this was potentially going to be a problem," Bookman said.

    "Whoever came up with the concept of the idea, obviously hasn't been paying attention to current day politics," Carter said.

    Mary Gustaff, CEO of The Brass Key, said her company did not intend to offend anyone.

    "It's not within our realm of thinking," she said. "We just don't think like that."

    She apologized that the doll offended some people.

    Her company is a family business in its third generation, Gustaff said.

    The Seattle-based company employs young, diverse people, she said.

    "We're good people," Gustaff said.

    She called their products, "Sweet, pure items."

    The company found out about the complaint more than a week ago. She said the product had not been for sale at Costco long.

    "We certainly won't do this again," Gustaff said, referring to the controversial design.

    Editors note: The attached video is from WFMY News 2's 6 p.m. newscast, which aired before WFMY News 2's Justin Quesinberry spoke with Gustaff.

    What is reaction from the man who complained?

    Stafford said the man who bought and complained about the doll is seen in pictures with the doll on mediatakeout.com.

    Jackson confirmed the man's name is John Taylor.

    WFMY News 2 has not heard directly from Taylor.


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    GUZZLER wrote:
    I'm going to Costco to buy some and sell it on Ebay.It is strange that this toy made it through the whole developement process without some politically correct person saying"now wait just a minute!"
    8/13/2009 11:33 AM EDT on DigTriad.com
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    artistic1 wrote:
    wfmy showed the "lil monkey" doll, along w/ a comment from a white viewer. he did not find it offensive but could see how others might. what i DID NOT see is the other doll that was shown on CNN last night. a white doll w/ panda bears and a cap that read "pretty panda". shouldn't the comparison have been made? why is a white viewer being asked about his feelings on the matter? the insult was not aimed at him. recently a white police officer in boston stated that professor gates acted like a "jungle monkey". a professor from georgetown university suggested that thing
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    Aug 13, 2009 6:23 PM GMT
    If it were a White American doll with a hat that read "Lil' Monkey" no one would have complained.

    Fyi if white people are being compared to Pandas and black people compared to Monkeys, black people should feel GOOD knowing that they are being compared to a species that shares over 98% of their DNA with humans, while white people are being compared to a bamboo eating, savage and far less intelligent bear.

    But it's the history of white people making negative comparisons to black people and monkeys that will forever linger in the minds of everyone born and raised in America...thus making it impossible to put a black person next to a monkey without someone going ape-shit (see what I did right there?).
  • Koaa2

    Posts: 1556

    Aug 13, 2009 8:04 PM GMT
    Costco did the right thing.
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    Aug 13, 2009 10:32 PM GMT
    QUOTEIf it were a White American doll with a hat that read "Lil' Monkey" no one would have complained.

    Correct, white and hispanic dolls with the monkey did in fact exist as mentioned in the OP's article. So it's not like they just made a monkey for african americans, they did for all races. However the only one we saw a reaction to was the african american one.

    Actually it looks like they have panda dolls for african americans and hispanics also, and apparently had white and hispanic dolls with the monkey.

    I'm beginning to think that at this rate we'll never be rid of racism with these types of responses to things that constantly reinforce racial differences. Oh well.

    All this is in the OP's article, or http://www.digtriad.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=128737&catid=57

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    Aug 13, 2009 11:18 PM GMT
    I guess RJ pulled the original thread when the realized it was a junk thread. as stated by rune, the doll was made in white hispanic and african american and packaged exactly the same. there was nothing racist about this doll. people pull the race card way to easily these days.
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    Aug 14, 2009 8:09 AM GMT
    chungo44 saidthere was nothing racist about this doll. people pull the race card way to easily these days.