Campaign against 'Islam is the Light' Dolls in U.S. Stores
17 Dec, 2008
Campaign Focuses on Target, Kmart and Toys R US
December 16, 2008 - Washington, DC: Wal-Mart managers are removing the Mattel doll that says "Islam is the Light" from store shelves, according to reports from parents and the media across the U.S. and Canada, as well as Wal-Mart employees. Many Wal-Mart managers have removed the controversial doll in the last two weeks, and others are removing it as soon as parents ask.
The Moms Ask Mattel for Accountability (MAMA) campaign to remove the doll began in late November on "Black" Friday, the year's biggest shopping day. The national MAMA campaign started as a response to parent concerns about the Mattel/Fisher Price "Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle and Coo Doll." The majority of "Little Mommy Cuddle and Coo" dolls on store shelves have an audio soundtrack that says "Islam is the Light," with no label or warning to parents on the doll's packaging that it advocates Islam to their young children, a practice known as "Dawa." MAMA has advised parents in the U.S. and Canada to ask retailers either to remove the doll from the shelves or to attach a label stating "NOTICE: This doll says "Islam is the light," an invitation to your child to join Islam." MAMA is concerned that an invitation to Islam is a material risk to young girls, because of the discriminatory Islamic law known as Shariah, and wants parents informed about the doll's statement before they purchase the doll.
"Parents are reporting that most Wal-Marts have already removed the
doll, or immediately remove it when asked," said Denise Lee, founder
of Moms Ask Mattel for Accountability. "And TV and newspaper stories
are reporting the same policy changes. MAMA applauds Wal-Mart for
taking the lead here in responding to parents' concerns, especially
over the Christmas season."
Wal-Mart staff at the Wal-Mart customer "Urgent Assistance" complaint phones were helpful and frank about customer complaints about the "Islam is the Light" doll. Lee spoke with Wal-Mart "Urgent Assistance" employee Ben Werkheiser, who said "We have received quite a few complaints from customers." Werkheiser stated that removal of the dolls is "more or less left up to individual stores' decisions," and when asked if the dolls had been removed from most Wal-Mart stores answered "Yes, they've pulled them because people complained about it. We are mainly responding to customers' complaints. The dolls in most of our Wal-Marts have been pulled." Fellow Wal-Mart employee Maria McDonald stated "We have had many complaints with the doll...the calls we are getting are from customers. I personally have received a lot of calls from customers."
Wal-Mart employee Werkheiser offered advice to
customers: "Contact store managers and let them know what's going
on. Have them listen to the doll. Customers can call the home
office, 1-800-WALMART." Although the Wal-Mart corporate office
declined our request to provide an official policy statement, MAMA
spokesperson Lee said: "The facts speak for themselves - Wal-Mart is
saying YES! to parent requests for removal of the "Islam is the
light" doll from the shelves."
A TALE OF TWO TOY STORES....
On the other hand, MAMA's requests to Target to remove the doll - or attach a label stating that it says "Islam is the Light" - met with a NO!
Amy Reilly of Target's Media Relations office called Lee and directed parents "To talk to Mattel if you have any issues with the doll." Reilly carefully stated, "We have not had a national recall on those dolls." When told of parents concerns about the doll Reilly stated, "The doll is a well selling doll." She said, for anything else "I would continue to try reaching Mattel."
"The difference is clear between two responses to parents' concerns," said Lee. "Wal-Mart is trying to help parents, and leaves the decision up to their managers. It appears from all the Target cases that parents have sent us (see "Cases" at www.labelthatdoll.com), that Target refuses to take action in response to consumer complaints, and local Target store managers aren't permitted to respond to their local community."
"The question is what will Target, Wal-Mart and other retailers do on December 26, when all those parents who bought that 'well selling' doll try to return it because it says 'Islam is the light'?" Lee said.
Lee noted that individual Kmarts have also been reported in the media as removing the dolls, but no nationwide policy has been released.
MAMA CAMPAIGN RAMPS UP!
Moms Ask Mattel for Accountability - the nationwide parents coalition MAMA - is now asking parents to contact store headquarters offices, by letter, phone or fax (emails are too easily ignored), and demand that the doll either be removed from store shelves or labeled.
THANKS WAL-MART! In the case of Wal-Mart, which has proven more
family-friendly and responsive to parents' concerns, MAMA asks for a
friendly call to thank them - and to make sure they keep pulling the
dolls if any are still on the shelves. Also ask if they're committed
to accepting returns, even without a receipt, after Christmas day
when so many parents will discover for the first time what the doll
is actually saying.
TIME TO ACT - TARGET, TOYS R US, AND KMART!
Target, Toys R Us and Kmart (owned by Sears) are still carrying the "Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle and Coo" doll that says "Islam is the Light." Target has been particularly unresponsive to any requests from parents. Please phone or fax to ask the store headquarters office to remove the doll now, before more parents purchase it, without knowing what they are buying, or the risks to their daughters from Islamic Law - Shariah. Ask if they're committed to accepting returns, even without a receipt, after Christmas day when so many parents will discover for the first time what the doll is actually saying. To find out more, visit www.labelthatdoll.com.
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR STORES
Investment Relations Department
Ph: (479) 273-6463
Director, Investment Relations
Ph: (479) 277-9558
Corporate Office Address/Phone:
Wal Mart Stores, Inc.
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716-8611
Ph: (479) 273-4000
KMART (Note: Kmart is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holding Corporation (SHO))
President and CEO
W. Bruce Johnson
Chairman of the Board/Investor Relations
3333 Beverly Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60179
Ph: (847) 286-2500
Public Relations: (847) 286-8371
Ph: (612) 696-6648
Fax: (612) 696-6325
Mr. Steinharel's Assistant:
Executive VP/Corp Secretary
Executive VP/Chief Marketing
Ph: (612) 696-6648
Ph: (612) 696-6134
1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Ph: 1 (800) 440-0680
TOYS R US
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President (Babies R US)
Chief Financial Officer
Executive Vice President/COO
(All phone numbers are listed as: (973) 617-3500)
Toys R Us, Inc Headquarters
One Geoffrey Way
Wayne, NJ 07470-2030
Ph: (973) 617-3500
Chairman of the Board/CEO Mattel
Ph: (310) 252-2000
President, Mattel Brands
Mailing Address/Fax Information
333 Continental Boulevard
El Segundo, CA 90245-5012
Fax: (310) 252-2179
Mattel Brands: (310) 252-6620
Corporate Info (310) 252-4705 or