First lady objects to Sasha, Malia dolls

Jan. 22, 2009 at 9:50 PM
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CHICAGO, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is taking a Westmont, Ill., company to task for marketing dolls with the same names as her children, Malia and Sasha.

Ty Inc., the company that created and distributes Beanie Babies, has been promoting two dolls with dark complexions and dark hair -- one named "Marvelous Malia" and the other named "Sweet Sasha" -- as part of its TyGirlz line. The items hit the market this month, prior to President Barack Obama's inauguration.

"We believe it is inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes," a spokeswoman for the first lady told Crain's chicagobusiness.com.

A Ty spokeswoman had told Crain's the dolls were created with the Obama daughters in mind, but the spokeswoman Thursday said the dolls "were not designed to look like any living person."

"Somehow there was a misunderstanding," the spokeswoman said.

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