A black rag doll that came with instructions to “whack” it against a wall was pulled from a dollar store in Bayonne, New Jersey, following complaints that it was offensive.
State Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, a Democrat whose district includes Bayonne, said in a press releaseposted on her Facebook page that the doll, sold at a One Dollar Zone! store, was “disturbing on so many levels” and was “an inappropriate representation of a black person.”
The cloth doll, called the “Feel Better Doll,” has red, black, yellow and green yarn hair with a white smile and eyes stitched on its face. On the doll’s stomach are instructions on how to use it.
“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,” it reads, according to a photo of the doll with McKnight’s press release. “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’s manufacturer is shown on the photo as Harvey Hutter, Co. Multiple numbers listed for the New York-based company no longer work. An online search said Harvey Hutter, Co. was permanently closed.
McKnight said she went to the dollar store after hearing complaints and asked the manager to promptly remove the doll, which she said the manager did.
“Racism has no place in the world and I will not tolerate it, especially not in this district,” McKnight said in the press release. “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.”
The manager at the One Dollar Zone! store in Bayonne could not immediately be reached by NBC News.
Ricky Shah, president of the independent family-owned chain based in Paterson, New Jersey, apologized in a statement to NBC Boston, saying that the dolls were included in a shipment of about 35,000 pieces of closeout items.
“This somehow slipped through the cracks,” he said.
*story by NBC News