KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 ― Toymaker Mattel has apologised for failing to represent Asians in its Olympics collection.
The apology came after the company got roasted online that its lineup did not include a Barbie, who appeared to be Asian, after it reignited promotion for its Olympic Barbie dolls released early last year.
“Our intention to represent the Asian community with the Skateboarder doll fell short and we fully receive and recognise the feedback,” NBC News reported quoting a company spokesperson in a statement.
The company said its skateboarding doll was meant to represent the Asian American community, but some Twitter users felt the doll did not look Asian.
Redish brown eyebrow barbie with corner eye difference is suppose to be Asian. Hahaha. To say this was an accident is a joke. I would have more respect if you just said we didn't think a Asian barbie would sell.— Alex (@achoi1973) August 10, 2021
According to the station, each of the five dolls in the collection reflected the five new sports that had been added to the Olympics — softball, sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing.
The company had said in a news release last year that the Barbie collaboration with the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 organisers would emphasise “inclusivity and innovation.”
A number of other people highlighted the achievements of Asian female Olympians this year, including Hmong American gymnast Suni Lee, who was the first Asian American to win gold in the gymnastics individual all-around, and Filipina American fencer Lee Kiefer, who was the first Asian American woman to win a fencing gold in general.
Mattel has created Barbies to honor Asian athletes in the past.
A doll depicting snowboarder Chloe Kim, who won the gold medal in snowboarding at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, was released that year.
And weeks before the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, Mattel released a doll modeled after tennis player Naomi Osaka.