Last week I reported on the controversy about the Fisher-Price Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle and Coo Doll, which features a baby-talk audio track that says, “Islam is the light.” Mattel, the parent company of Fisher-Price, at first denied that the doll says any such thing, ascribing the controversy to the suggestibility of its high-strung and hysteria-prone customers.
However, after MAMA (Moms Ask Mattel for Accountability) launched its public awareness campaign about the doll, Mattel abruptly pulled all statements about the issue from its website. The company is now neither confirming or denying that the doll is engaging in da’wa — as far as Mattel is concerned, the problem simply doesn’t exist.
For readers who are interested, Denise Lee from MAMA will discuss the Mattel Inc. controversy today, Monday December 8, on the Tammy Bruce show at 1:30 pm PST (4:30 pm EST). The program can be heard live on the internet.
MAMA considers Mattel’s sudden silence to be significant:
COVERUP OR RETREAT?
Mattel Inc. Pulls ALL Statements About Doll from website…
December 7, 2008 — Washington, DC: In what may be a cover-up or a retreat, Mattel Inc. has removed from their corporate “Investors and Media” website ALL statements about the controversial “Little Mommy” doll. Parents nationwide have complained for months to Mattel that the doll says “Islam is the Light” without any notification label for consumers that the doll is advocating Islam. Between October 13 and December 4 — for FIFTY-TWO DAYS — Mattel had prominently posted, as the feature story at their corporate website Investors page, a media advisory statement that the doll only makes “cooing” sounds, and an audio file they alleged was the doll’s soundtrack.
MATTEL’S DISAPPEARING ACT
On December 2, MAMA posted our November 28 formal complaint letters to the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, written on behalf of America’s parents. That same day we launched our campaign to ask retailers to pull the doll off their shelves — or label it to inform consumers about the “Islam is the Light” soundtrack. Just THREE DAYS LATER, on December 5, EVERY DOCUMENT posted by Mattel on their website about the “Little Mommy Cuddle & Coo Doll” had been removed.
WITHOUT A TRACE…
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Even more disturbing, given the serious issues raised in MAMA’s formal complaint letters to the FTC and SEC, Mattel has also removed previous statements about the doll from the Mattel press release archives. The controversial “Islam is the Light” Media Advisory had been THE FEATURE PRESS STORY for Mattel’s Investors and Media corporate website — for the previous FIFTY-TWO DAYS. And then it disappeared — WITHOUT A TRACE.
MAMA also alerted the SEC and the public about a significant difference in appearance of the waveform of the posted Mattel audio file, and the waveform of an audio file recorded from an actual doll. THAT AUDIO FILE HAS ALSO BEEN REMOVED FROM THE MATTEL SITE — WITHOUT A TRACE.
So is all this brouhaha attributable to the power of suggestion, as Mattel had previously maintained?
If so, there are a lot of suggestible parents out there. The MAMA post highlights a recent poll by WJBF-TV in which 76% of respondents state that yes, they hear the doll say, “Islam is the light.” Even more telling is anecdotal evidence compiled by WCBS-TV in New York. The station sent a team to a Target store to talk to customers:
Jeanine Kearny said she just heard cooing at first. But when we told her to listen for “Islam is the light,” she had a different reaction.
“Now that you say it, I’m hearing it but when I was listening at first I did not hear that,” says Kearny, a Highland Mills resident.
So we gave the power of suggestion a different try.
When we suggested to shopper Hughie Hagan to listen for “Mommy’s my delight,” that was what he heard.
Yet when Hagan’s wife joined in, she heard the controversial line.
“I clearly heard Islam is the light,” she says. And she admits she [is] offended the doll is being sold.
This last example is significant because Ms. Hagan heard the da’wa line despite what was suggested to her.
It would be interesting to set up a clinical psychological experiment to test the suggestion hypothesis on groups of volunteers. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time between now and
Christmas Winter Solstice Holiday to conduct such an operation, so anecdotal evidence will have to do.
I wonder what Mattel’s story will be this time next week…?