Business Insider Edition

Black rag dolls designed to be slammed against walls have been pulled from a New Jersey store for being 'offensive and disturbing'

Susanna Heller , Business Insider US
 Jul 30, 2019, 11:21 AM
The "Feel Better Doll" is no longer sold a the One Dollar Zone.
  • A New Jersey dollar store chain has pulled "Feel Better Dolls" from shelves after shoppers raised concerns that the dolls were racists and otherwise offensive.
  • The dolls, which are small and black, were designed to be slammed against walls.
  • In a statement shared on Facebook, Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight said she visited a Bayonne, New Jersey, location of the One Dollar Zone chain and was horrified by the "offensive and disturbing" doll.
  • McKnight said she spoke with the store's general manager, who removed the item from the store.
  • Dollar Zone President Ricky Shah apologised for the incident, according to CNN.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider South Africa.

A regional dollar store chain in New Jersey has pulled "Feel Better Dolls" from shelves after shoppers raised concerns that the dolls were racists and otherwise offensive.

In a statement shared on Facebook, Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight said she visited a Bayonne, New Jersey, location of the One Dollar Zone chain and after hearing that it carried the "offensive and disturbing" doll.

In her post, McKnight included pictures of the black rog dolls. She also included the instructions that come attached to the item that instruct users to "slam" and "whack" the item against a wall.

The instructions, which appear to be stitched onto the doll, read as follows: "Whenever things don't go well and you want to hit the wall and yell, here's a little 'Feel Better Doll' that you just will not do without. Just grab it firmly by the legs and find a wall to slam the doll and as you whack the 'feel good doll' do not forget to yell 'I feel good. I feel good.'"

The doll, McKnight said, clearly depicts a black child.

"Racism has no place in the world and I will not tolerate it, especially not in this district," she wrote. "When I saw the doll in person, I cringed and was truly disheartened by the thought of a black child being beaten by another child or an adult for pure pleasure. To have a product depict or teach children that it is OK to hit another child, regardless of race, in order to feel good is sick. Dolls should be a symbol of love, care, and affection."

In her post, McKnight said that after she saw the item for herself she was horrified and brought it to the manager's attention.

"This doll is offensive and disturbing on so many levels. It is clearly made in an inappropriate representation of a black person and instructs people to 'slam' and 'whack' her," McKnight wrote in her statement.

In a Facebook post, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis agreed that the dolls "can certainly be considered racist."

The dolls have been pulled from the store.

McKnight visited the One Dollar Zone after hearing about the Feel Better Dolls. And after seeing them for herself, she decided to say something.

Ricky Shah, the president of One Dollar Zone, told USA Today that 1,000 of the dolls have been pulled from New Jersey franchises of the chain. Shah told the CNN that the store received a shipment of 35,000 dolls in three colours: green, yellow, and black. But the inappropriate dolls made it to shelves in what Shah told CNN was an oversight.

"One Dollar Zone deeply apologises for this incident," he said.

One Dollar Zone, which is a regional chain in the Northeast with locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, purchased the dolls from a supplier called Global Souvenir Marketing, according to the New York Times. The dolls were originally created by a company called Harvey Hutter Co, according to McKnight's post. Its website seems to now be defunct.

"I thank the community for bringing this to my attention," McKnight said. "When we see or hear something discriminating and abusive, we must act instantly to correct the action."

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