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Mattel “fell short” and failed to stick the landing with their latest Olympic collaboration garnering low scores with the public.
Earlier this year, the toy company released a collection of Olympic Barbie dolls, meant to represent “inclusivity and innovation,” however Mattel has faced backlash due to the exclusion of an Asian Barbie, especially since this year’s games were held in Tokyo, Japan.
“Our intention to represent the Asian community with the Skateboarder doll fell short and we fully receive and recognize the feedback,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“Moving forward, we will work to find more ways to champion all representation and celebrate the amazing achievements of all Olympic athletes, who are showing us that anything is possible,” the media mea culpa continued.
Each Barbie was made to represent the five new Olympic sports — softball, sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing, but after the company’s statement, consumers expressed via Twitter that the company’s Asian Barbie did not look Asian.
Mattel’s snafu follows the multiple achievements of Asian female Olympians this year —including Suni Lee, a Hmong American gymnast who was the first Asian American to win gold in the gymnastics individual all-around, and Lee Kiefer, a Filipina American fencer who was the first Asian American woman to win a fencing gold.
The company has honored Asian athletes in the past. Mattel created Barbie dolls in tribute to famous Asian athletes. In 2018, snowboarder Chloe Kim, who won the gold medal in snowboarding at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, modeled a doll.
Most recently, in July, tennis player Naomi Osaka also inspired her own Barbie doll, that quickly sold out after its launch.
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