Hasbro is pulling a popular Trolls doll from shelves, after complaints about the "inappropriate" placement of a feature on the 'Giggle and Sing Poppy' toy.
The doll, from the 'Trolls World Tour' movie, has sparked outrage after a woman in the US launched a petition to remove it from stores, claiming it promotes child abuse.
Jessica McManis was disturbed after seeing a video on Twitter, which showed the doll "gasping and giggling" when a button was activated between the toy's legs under her skirt.
The video was re-shared by US politician Sam Parker on Wednesday.
"Paedophiles could use that button as means to show a child that they are grooming," McManis told Essential Baby.
"I think companies need to be more mindful on how toys can be perceived by children or used by people with bad intentions."
"What will this toy make our innocent, impressionable children think?" McManis wrote in the petition's description. "That it's fun when someone touches your private area? That paedophilia and child molestation are ok?"
"It's not ok!" McManis continued. "It's not fun! It's damaging and has long term affects on a child's mental/physical health!"
In a statement to Essential Baby, Hasbro Senior Vice President Julie Duffy said that the placement of the button was "not intentional" and was designed to react when the doll was seated.
The 'Trolls World Tour Giggle and Sing Poppy' doll Photo: Supplied by Jessica McManis
"We recognise the placement of the sensor may be perceived as inappropriate," she said in the 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."
So far the petition has garnered over 230,000 signatures, with other parents voicing their concerns on social media.
This is disturbing. This is intentional grooming. Normalizing inappropriate behavior. Those saying that there is no sinister intent because it said so on the box and that its just a poor design FOH. #TrollsDoll pic.twitter.com/ej6t8bGInO— 𝕻𝖎𝖓𝖈𝖍𝖊 𝕶𝖆𝖗𝖊𝖓 (@fknkaren) August 5, 2020
McManis said she's thrilled with the response to the petition and that the doll is being removed from stores.
"I was discouraged in the beginning by people saying that petitions never go anywhere but I tried anyway," she told Essential Baby, adding that this should be a lesson to toy companies.
"Children are impressionable and vulnerable, and they need to be protected," McManis said firmly.
"We have to be their voice in times when they don't have one."