Mattel Hunkers Down

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:


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.


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.


– – – – – – – –

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…?

6 thoughts on “Mattel Hunkers Down

  1. Off topic but relevant to Gates of Vienna.

    You may find this interesting. My first post on LGF. The subject was supposed to be David Horrowitz’ opposition to the Obama birth certificate controversy. For some reason they were discussing the rather dumb comedy Tropic Thunder. So here’s my post which they deemed so offensive I was accused of being a euro-nazi…

    “Tropic Thunder is infantile crap, which is unfortunate since its heart is in the right place.

    Now let’s get back to BHO’s BC.

    The question still remains.

    If it’s not his citenzenship that he’s hiding. What is it? Is the listed religion embarrassing? Is it the name? Maybe he was adopted or maybe he was born a woman. Who effing knows and that’s the point.

    What’s wrong with you, yo? You think you’ll win the next election by being nice and fair. Dream on, they’ll just trash you again using the same foul means.´

    Wake up. This ain’t no game, The future of the world is at stake not just your fragile sensibilities. Look, unfairness works. That’s how this bunch of pathological liars just won.

    And if you don’t learn to hang tough you’ll go on losing and we all (I’m not American) suffer.

    I’m losing patience with you. Stop letting those of us who believe in democracy but are not lucky enough to live in America down. I don’t dare tell you what my Lebanese cedar-revolutionary friends are saying about you but here’s a clue. It’s similar to what your South- Vietnamese allies said (those that survived).

    Put your money where your mouth is or back off, Then at least we’ll understand we’re on our own and can come up with reasonable strategies that don’t include you.

    So what’s it to be, Are you with us or with the the the enemies of Democracy. GWB, initially at least seemed to understand this.

    At the moment those of us who believe in democracy don’t trust you.”

    OK, I know, strong stuff but I don’t like mincing words.

    They went ballistic. Here’s a sample

    “re: #361 flabslab

    That’s the same lame argument that GoV and the others who are willing to ally with euro-nazi’s use to try to convince us that we need to recognize them because of a common enemy. Since their use of it doesn’t sway most of us here, your application of it is equally underwhelming.

    If we become what we fight – where are we? I remain unconvinced that we have to resort to evil in order to defeat another evil.”

    So, having clearly stated my commitment to democracy I’m apparently a Nazi because I doubt America’s commitment.

    At which point I informed Charles that I wished to be banned from his site which he did with amazing alacrity, thus;

    “re: #421 flabslab

    No problem. You’re banned. But you don’t get to post your dramatic, nasty farewell comment, sorry.”

    Check the “sorry” how fake can you get? I asked him to ban me and I admit I used one word that ensured I would. It rhymes with infantile “bankers”

    Clearly, esconsed as they are in their Californian disneyland, these guys have completely lost it. They don’t even understand they’ve been conned.

    I now understand the argument between your sites and blame LGF, not only for the breakdown but also for the smears levelled against you. The folks at LGF are narrow minded bigots of a similar kind to the Obamatons and will probably soon number amongst his most fervent supporters.

    Sorry for being off topic but since you were specifically named, without me mentioning you, I felt you should know.

  2. Baron,

    So is all this brouhaha attributable to the power of suggestion, as Mattel had previously maintained?

    What previous statements? Mattel has never made any statements about this case. It’s the power of suggestion that makes you believe that, but it never happened. Time to stop hallucinating and forget about the whole thing. There’s nothing to see here, just move on — no brouhaha, only cooing.

  3. That settles it – I *gotta* find one of these before they disappear off of the store shelves. (They *are* going to disappear, aren’t they? Mattel isn’t going to keep making these ridiculous things and pushing them on little kids, are they??)

    (Oh, and I’m naming mine “Ms. Ba-ba Da-wa…”)

  4. FYI – just left a comment or two on the original page, suggesting that the super-slowed-down version reveals a woman with an Asian accent and (at least to Western ears) a speech impediment saying,

    “Ig-glong id de *ligh-ddt*!”

    where the “glong” is partially “glom” and “id” is partially “is”.

    And, what Ian B should consider is, we don’t *have* to capture her saying “Islam” with perfect English pronunciation; all we need is to form a baseline for her general speech pattern from these fragments (or any other fragments she’s recorded for Mattel), then adjust/map the phonetics in this particular fragment according to what the baseline reveals about her various impediments.

    Just from listening to this one snippet, for instance, I’d suggest that “g” and “ng” map to at least one, if not more than one, phonetic sound each – and whatever they map to is NOT a “G”. IMHO, she’s *trying* to say something else, but not succeeding, and she ends up saying “g” because she can’t make the right sound(s).

    What if “g” maps to “s” in her (severely impaired) case? Not saying she’s a complete moron, but she ain’t William F. Buckley either… so I’d take the “g” defense with a grain of salt.

  5. Kudos to flabslab – another badge of honor from LGF.

    I think the birth certificate issue is moot now, since no court seems willing to even look at it.

    The State Department’s list of qualifications include being born of one American citizen – there’s a residency requirement, but that’s probably been met, since he was born in Hawaii.

    Back to Mattell: I listened very carefully to the news clip. There’s no doubt about it. The fact that many people can hear the Islam comment shows that that’s what it’s saying.

    Parking-lot interviews aren’t the best location – there’s a lot of ambient noise.

    Still, there’s no reasonable explanation for why Mattell did this.

    Sure, it was made in China (like everything else we buy), but it’s a lot harder to interpret that sound as “Momma” than what we actually hear.

Comments are closed.