Toys 'R Us Pulling Breaking Bad Action Figures After Mom's Petition

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Toys 'R Us Pulling Breaking Bad Action Figures After Mom's Petition

Toys 'R Us is removing Breaking Bad toys from its shelves after a Florida woman launched a petition to defend the retail chain's "family friendly values."

So most of us can probably agree that Breaking Bad was fantastic, yes? The writing, the acting, the obvious amount of work that went into making pretty much every little detail matter and mean something; they all added up to a TV series that will probably be remembered as a peak product of its medium for years to come. That being the case, with its focus on drugs, crime and general human awfulness, it's also not the sort of show you'd want your kids to watch.

For some parents though, keeping their kids from watching Breaking Bad wasn't enough. For some it was important the series be completely removed from anything related to children. Florida mother Susan Schrijver, for instance, recently launched a Change.org petition aimed at convincing Toys 'R Us to remove a line of Breaking Bad action figures from its stores.

"Toys R Us is well known around the world for their vast selection of toys for children of all ages," said Schrijver in her petition. "Their decision to sell a Breaking Bad doll, complete with a detachable sack of cash and a bag of meth, alongside children's toys is a dangerous deviation from their family friendly values. That's why I'm calling on Toys R Us to immediately stop selling the Breaking Bad doll collection in their stores and on their website."

Schrijver's petition quickly picked up steam, drawing support from thousands of like-minded and parents. Toys R' Us, in turn, initially defended its decision to sell the toys, citing the fact that their packaging clearly states they're intended for customers over the age of 15. It has since recanted that stance however, and has most recently agreed to pull the toys from sale for what it's describing as an "indefinite sabbatical." In response to this and to Schrijver's petition, a second petition has been launched urging the store to keep selling adult-themed toys like the Breaking Bad figures for adult collectors who might enjoy purchasing them. That petition is currently closing in on 5,000 supporters. Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston has also weighed in several times on the controversy, joking at one point that he had plans to burn his "Florida Mom action figure in protest."

Speaking personally, Schrijver's sentiments as well as Toys 'R Us capitulation strike a rather sour note with me. I'm not a huge toy collector but I do enjoy perusing the store's shelves when I visit with my daughter and my experience has been that the store does a good job of keeping its adult-targeted toys in their own separate aisle. In other words, unless you're the sort that lets your kids run wild, you'd have to bring them there yourself for them to see anything potentially inappropriate. Out of curiosity, I also checked with Toys 'R Us to see if they had any sort of age restrictions governing toy sales. The company replied that it has "an ID check process for mature video games, but not for action figures." Perhaps implementing something similar for toys would be a better solution than banning certain action figures outright.

Source: Fox News

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This is making me nostalgic for my Robocop action figures back in the day. Now we need a ASAC Schrader Saturday morning cartoon!

E: Younger Hank and Gomie busting crims and telling kids to say no to drugs would totally work, but they'd have to leave out Hank's casual racism.

You know what? They're completely right in removing this from Toys R us. I'm sick of douchbags who yell CENSORSHIP at any legitimate worry, there's plenty of venues to buy the damn toys rather than children oriented ones.

I really don't have a problem with the toys not being available at this particular retailer (especially if they're charging $20+ for a figure according to that picture up there... seriously? Is that what action figures cost now?) especially if they are traditionally known for their outfacing child like persona. It's not like the toys are now unavailable, and, honestly most any adult I know of would think to just pull up a figure they want on Amazon before visiting Toys R' Us for it.

That said, I wish it had come about as a result of restraint on the behalf of the company in the first place, rather than a mandate for censorship by a consumer.

Basically I'm just saying Censorship = Bad. Restraint, understanding and responsibility to your target audience = Good.

Can't agree with this one bit. God forbid parents actually be parents and keep their kids away from this stuff instead of insisting corporations, the government, and everyone else keep their potentially harmful material away from their "precious children". This woman is clearly someone who has WAY too much free time because she made a petition to remove a toy from an adult-oriented section of a toy-store instead of just not letting her kids see them. She's just as bad as the parents who let their kids play M-rated games and then complain about how easy it is to get M-rated games. idiot.

Toys R Us sells plenty of action figures from similarly mature IP. Breaking Bad is simply the first time this mom actually recognized it. The chain decided to side with the larger demographic. Sure I buy some stuff for myself from Toys 'R Us each year, but nothing near what my brother spends there on his two kids.

I'm not even a fan of BrBa, but I like that the store has action figures designed for adults. Hopefully, these zealous parents will remain oblivious to similar merchandise.

First off in this case there was no censorship. There was a consumer voicing a concern to a company. The company then looked at pro/cons and decided to no longer carry the product. Censorship is a government action, this was a company practicing their Freedom of Association. I wish more people understood the difference between the two.

I think the problem I have reading this is that is sounds like a, "only when I agree with it" type of thing. We don't like petitioners getting a company to do A, but if the petition was for thing B we would be all for it. This is how this process works, if the people showed they cared a bout a choice a company made, they complain to the company. The company then can choose how to respond. In this case the company decided to listen, but because they made this choice they were wrong. I find this interesting in a gaming context where I often read people wishing that the companies would listen to their consumers more.

Also, I do not blame parents for giving their kids a bit more freedom inside a toy store like Toys-R-US. The store markets itself as a kid-friendly location, so letting kids wander a bit (I think a 9-10 years might be able to handle being a aisle over from their parents) is not ridiculous. I don't necessity think a toy rated 15+ is really in their primary target demographic, seems more like a Newbury Comic type of thing.

I thought it was a bit ridiculous till I saw the accessories. I mean really? Selling an action figure with illegal drugs in a Toys-R-Us? Seems off to me.

I find this silly.
Toys R us has figures from things like Mortal Kombat, Family guy, Bioshock, or South Park, but Breaking Bad is where the line was crossed?

Relatedly, anybody remember way back in the forgotten ages (the nineties) when they had kid's toys based on the movie Alien? If that was ok, why isn't Bryan Cranberry sauce?

See, and I distinctly remember going to Toy R Us as a kid and seeing Todd MacFarlane toys for sale. You know the ones, the REALLY gruesome and gory kind that should probably not be SEEN by kids, much less purchased. I mean, its the store's prerogative to sell whatever they want, I buy my figures from places where there are no kids running underfoot (a much better option), I just find it amusing that THIS is what got pulled from shelves. They've sold much, MUCH worse in the past without so much as a blip in the news about it.

It was a reasonable complaint for the Mom to ask. "dear Toys R Us, why do you have a series of Meth Lab Action Figures in your kids toy store?" I don't have a problem with Breaking Bad Action figures, I just don't think Toys-R-Us are a particularly good venue for carrying them. TRU's target customer is a bit to young. They are more adult collectables.

And before anyone brings up Walking Dead, there is a difference between "scary" and "Meth Dealer"

They sell rated M games. Think about that for a moment.

These parents must have no clue what else this retailer sells.

I agree that they should not sell "meth accessory"

But if this show is so horrible for their kids.....

How do the kids recognize the characters? (Fail hipocratic patents obviously let them watch it)

JamesBr:
See, and I distinctly remember going to Toy R Us as a kid and seeing Todd MacFarlane toys for sale. You know the ones, the REALLY gruesome and gory kind that should probably not be SEEN by kids, much less purchased. I mean, its the store's prerogative to sell whatever they want, I buy my figures from places where there are no kids running underfoot (a much better option), I just find it amusing that THIS is what got pulled from shelves. They've sold much, MUCH worse in the past without so much as a blip in the news about it.

They really haven't. Gruesome and Gory is bread and butter to kids of a certain age block. Moreso even than adults. It's always been that way. But the Breaking Bad action figures seemed to be reveling in and romanticizing violent criminal drug culture. A similar argument could be made for not selling an Al Pacino Scarface action figure at TRU. The product skews way outside any of the merchants target audiences. So much so that it seems problematic. Kind of like putting porn in the magazine racks at the front of the store next to the Pokemon books.

First they take Breaking Bad action figures away. Next they'll take away the "Love Dolls". Then where will I go for my fake hookers & blow? Come on! I got to stay a Toys R' Us Kid!

/sarcasm

On the bright side FART didn't have to get involved.

What would an innocent child know about Breaking Bad????
I agree that Toy's R Us is a TERRIBLE place to sell that, because their target audience has zero overlap with the figures.

But this censorship BS? That's exhasperating. Thank goodness we don't have such nonsense over here, but then that woman has a Dutch name. Sigh...

faefrost:

JamesBr:
See, and I distinctly remember going to Toy R Us as a kid and seeing Todd MacFarlane toys for sale. You know the ones, the REALLY gruesome and gory kind that should probably not be SEEN by kids, much less purchased. I mean, its the store's prerogative to sell whatever they want, I buy my figures from places where there are no kids running underfoot (a much better option), I just find it amusing that THIS is what got pulled from shelves. They've sold much, MUCH worse in the past without so much as a blip in the news about it.

They really haven't. Gruesome and Gory is bread and butter to kids of a certain age block. Moreso even than adults. It's always been that way. But the Breaking Bad action figures seemed to be reveling in and romanticizing violent criminal drug culture. A similar argument could be made for not selling an Al Pacino Scarface action figure at TRU. The product skews way outside any of the merchants target audiences. So much so that it seems problematic. Kind of like putting porn in the magazine racks at the front of the store next to the Pokemon books.

Except the target audience of gruesome and gory toys with minimal articulation is adult collectors, not children. The idea that horrific, graphic violence is somehow more appropriate is....I dunno. Off. The target audience for both is clearly adults. They both skew waaaaaay outside the range of "children". Same logic with selling M rated games (which they do). The intended audience is NOT children, but it doesn't stop them from putting it on the shelves (and refusing the sale when appropriate). /shrug either way, I don't really care. A store is allowed to shelve whatever it wants. BUT it IS ironic in the same way North American culture gets a stick up its ass over sex and drug use in media (movies and TV especially), but violence tends to get a pass.

Do you remember how gory the original Robocop was?
I think I can say categorically that we are all better for living in a world where Toy 'R' Us never sold action figures connected to that movie franchise... wait...

How bout this, it's really simple...Don't buy your kid the fucking toy!!!! Same thing applies to video games. If you don't want your kid to play GTA than don't buy it. These parents need to stop impulse buying then realising that what they bought is for adults.

deth2munkies:
I thought it was a bit ridiculous till I saw the accessories. I mean really? Selling an action figure with illegal drugs in a Toys-R-Us? Seems off to me.

But all the figures with guns and swords are A-Okay.

Fappy:
They sell rated M games. Think about that for a moment.

These parents must have no clue what else this retailer sells.

Yeah, but don't kids need a parent to buy those things?

I think companies have simply become too weak in terms of their willingness to stand up to protests and letter writing crusades and such. In part because I feel too few are willing to really spend the time defending themselves, or drop the hammer with their rights as property owners when the need arises.

When it comes to something like action figures for "R" rated properties it should be noted that like it or not kids see and get into this kind of stuff. Guys like Freddy Kreuger and Jason Vorhees didn't become icons purely because of an adult audience. As a general rule toy stores have supported themselves by producing toys for a large group of age demographics, and those producing toys have oftentimes put a lot of effort into adapting non-child friendly properties into things more appropriate for children as well. For example "Toxic Crusader" (a very kid unfriendly movie) got it's own Saturday Morning TV show and toy line. We all know about Robocop of course, and when I was little we had things like "Garbage Pail Kids" which were pretty shocking to some adults, seriel killer trading cards, and action figures based around various horror movie franchises of the day.

The way it seems to me is that Breaking Bad is both well known, and responsible in it's labeling, including on that action figure. I don't see a problem with a 15 year old having something like that, assuming the parents think it's okay.

To me it comes down to parenting and knowing your children, and really other parents shouldn't be running around on crusades saying what stores should and should not be allowed to carry for toys and aim at children in cases like this. When a store capitulates it creates more problems down the road by encouraging more people to make similar complaints when they feel uppity, and in the end it lowers their overall stock and reduces the number and type of customers coming in.

Of course it could just be me, my basic opinion here largely comes from some efforts to get "Garbage Pail Kids" pulled, and those cards had pictures of kids with heroin needles hanging out of their arms and all kinds of things as I remember. To me a "Breaking Bad" action figure doesn't strike me as being much worse, especially seeing as it's largely a display piece (dolls like that usually are) and it aimed at teenagers to begin with... and to be honest I don't think kids young enough to be scarred by this are going to really "get" Breaking Bad as a concept to want an action figure to begin with.... and the figure isn't especially exciting or appealing unless you already know specifically what/who it is.

I'd also point out that people need to understand that kids tend to like monsters as much as they can be scared of them. This can create an interesting contradiction at times, but it's pretty normal, and frankly usually doesn't mean that a kid is on his way to becoming a seriel killer or whatever. It's sort of like the old Seriel killer trading cards and such, the point was that they were morbid, not so much that people really wanted to be Ted Bundy or whatever.

Of course then again while this is getting increasingly off topic I suppose the school shootings and the RL attempt to sacrifice someone to Slender Man has generated some paranoia.

I don't really know much about Toys 'R' Us at all since they don't have chains in New Zealand (AFAIK), but by the sounds of it, the store has been selling Figures, Video Games and other goods to a mature audience, plus they've been keeping such goods off in their own section. So as has been said, it's interesting that these parents are okay with all the other stuff being sold, but they suddenly draw the line at this.

It sounds like just another case of parents demanding that everyone else protect them from their own inability to keep adult content away from their kids.

Remember kids! It's okay for the toy store to sell M-rated video games, toy guns, bows, and swords, and games and products that depict or encourage violent acts against people or animals, but an action doll with a bag of cash and a bag of meth is A BIG NO-NO!!

But fear not! Florida residents are looking out for you. Just remember this one simple rule:

Do as they say, not as they do.[1]

[1] Because Space help us if we all started acting like Floridians...

Tyranicus:
How bout this, it's really simple...Don't buy your kid the fucking toy!!!! Same thing applies to video games. If you don't want your kid to play GTA than don't buy it. These parents need to stop impulse buying then realising that what they bought is for adults.

I dont think the "Mom" here got as far as buying anything: they've likely seen or at least heard of Breaking Bad, seen the associated toy while shopping with their kids and had a knee-jerk reaction. The Mom is galled at the very idea that Toys R Us would sell an adult aimed item in a kids shop, as opposed to having accidentally purchased the toy for the kid.

Don't get me wrong, I entirely agree with the sentiment - parents need to start acting like parents instead of relying on society to look after their offspring.

To give her credit, were Toys R Us specifically just for kids then it would be very surprising to see it on the shelves. Toys R Us should have responded however by saying something like, "We're sorry to read of your recent distress in one of our stores, but I can advise you that our chain caters to adults and children and as such we stock items for all ages." and left it at that. Bowing down to something like this is a stepping stone to a pointless path of censorship in the future.

Infernal Lawyer:
I don't really know much about Toys 'R' Us at all since they don't have chains in New Zealand (AFAIK), but by the sounds of it, the store has been selling Figures, Video Games and other goods to a mature audience, plus they've been keeping such goods off in their own section. So as has been said, it's interesting that these parents are okay with all the other stuff being sold, but they suddenly draw the line at this.

It sounds like just another case of parents demanding that everyone else protect them from their own inability to keep adult content away from their kids.

Having been in many Toys R US stores myself, The store is very much targeted for young children, often with activities for young children taking place at the store for kids to actively participate in. Their primary focus seems to be a dress up princess section and baby dolls and educational toys for children and such. They frequently have a person in a giraffe suit running around taking pictures with young children, and people telling stories or doing puppet shows and such for young children in their stores.

It is not in any way comparable to a comic store or other that primarily focuses on a more mature crowd, as you might think given the wide variety of toys they sell. I recently read they were adding a Claire's jewelry section for tweens and teenage girls, they very well could do a section where you walk through a door way with a mature content warning prior to entering to allow parent to know that there is mature content and not Disney princess items to be expected within. The issue is they had the mature toys mixed in with items for young children in the same section in a store that it is expected for children to be able to feel at ease shopping and participating in child themed store events.

Toys R Us target audience is young children, they have been recently attempting to expand to an older audience but they really should section those off accordingly to better assist their customers rather than alienate their current primary consumers. I very much would like them to expand their selection of action figures, as in the past, they did not have as much of a selection as other vendors, however, they should be smart about it and make a section just for that within their stores rather than mix them in with the existing mickey mouse and toy story figures they currently carry. This would also assist their customers coming in looking for these items to make them easily available for them to find, and not force them to sort through the buzz light years to locate what they are looking for. They actually did not have these in a different section, they are on the same isle with other toys for children. Often times, they even throw them in the same bin with toys that are for 3+ years of age when clearancing them as well.

P-89 Scorpion:

deth2munkies:
I thought it was a bit ridiculous till I saw the accessories. I mean really? Selling an action figure with illegal drugs in a Toys-R-Us? Seems off to me.

But all the figures with guns and swords are A-Okay.

Hell yeah.

erttheking:

Fappy:
They sell rated M games. Think about that for a moment.

These parents must have no clue what else this retailer sells.

Yeah, but don't kids need a parent to buy those things?

The BB action figures say for ages 15 and up. Whether or not the store cards the kids is their prerogative. I doubt they do for action figures, honestly.

well they shouldnt be selling them to kids and i agree they should be taken off the shelves. they are now a collectors item for people who have them and it will drive prices up through the roof

P-89 Scorpion:

deth2munkies:
I thought it was a bit ridiculous till I saw the accessories. I mean really? Selling an action figure with illegal drugs in a Toys-R-Us? Seems off to me.

But all the figures with guns and swords are A-Okay.

Considering many children actually go hunting with their parents as a family venture, firearms around children is not that uncommon. I started shooting at the age of 8, and actually had to shoot my first animal at the age of 12 in defense of our farm. My brothers did so much younger, as they were larger than me. It was older for me as I am a very petite female and shooting was more difficult for me due to my petite size, I received terrible bruises from doing so and the power of a firearm can be difficult to control unless you weigh enough. My brothers were killing snakes and such with knives, machetes and shovels by the age of 6 and skinning them, so the idea that these things are not commonly around children as it is is an odd idea to me. I am sure in more sheltered environments where the children are not trained in survival skills this may seem odd, but I assure you, this is has been the way of the world for a very long time now, and I do not see that changing any time soon.

It amazes me how easy it is to get something pulled from the shelves these days. Aldi pulled Roald Dahl's 'Revolting Rhymes' from its stores after just one person complained on facebook about the use of the word 'slut'.

I can tell you exactly why they have done this.

NPS (Net Promoter Score). In essence this is a score that tells the company how likely a customer is to recommend a retailer to a friend. Working for a company in the UK that has placed this value as the most important thing in the universe I can tell you that if a customer so much as thinks about complaining they will get whatever the hell they want, no matter how stupid the reason or how legitimate the complaint.

In the US Toys R US has an NPS of 68%, which isn't bad but is down by 5% on what it was last year they are below potential direct or alternative rivals inlcuding Wal Mart.

Seriously you would like to think that this is just Walmart appeasing some over sensitive and frankly stupid women (what's the worst that can happen, mommy who's that? Well son that is a character from a fantastic piece of television and when you are a bit older I will heartily recommend you watch it... anyway) yeah they did this because of cash because companies are so afraid of people lowering their NPS they will bow to any and all stupidity.

So yeah next time you get asked to go online and fill out what you thought about your visit (which you will because fucking everywhere does it, KFC does it for fuck sake) it's because they want you to tell them that if your mate asked where can I buy X you would say from them.

Adult action figures removed from kiddie toy store. For some reason a lot of people find this controversial.

inu-kun:
You know what? They're completely right in removing this from Toys R us. I'm sick of douchbags who yell CENSORSHIP at any legitimate worry, there's plenty of venues to buy the damn toys rather than children oriented ones.

But selling CoD is okay? Toys'R'Us should have age restrictions on all their merch but out right banning it seems hypocritical considering they also military endorsed toys and Nerf guns. You ever took a Nerf gun to the face, it ACTUALLY hurts!

inu-kun:
You know what? They're completely right in removing this from Toys R us. I'm sick of douchbags who yell CENSORSHIP at any legitimate worry, there's plenty of venues to buy the damn toys rather than children oriented ones.

You might have a point there if there was any actual "legitimate worry" here. Looking at the pic the toys don't have any harmful inside(or much of anything actually, and for $20? What a ripoff) and it's very unlikely that the back has any harmful messages like "Go do drugs!" or anything like that.(If there was then the media would on it like a starving man in a buffet) If anything assuming the parent does their job and keeps their kid away from shows like Breaking Bad, it would look like a extremely boring toy that kids would immediately pass over. So I'm sorry but this a clear simple case of censorship, especially since as previously mentioned in other posts ToyR-Us doesn't just sell children oriented Toys. Again if there was some actual danger here I would be 100% removing them, but the only danger here is parents thinking they can keep legitimate products out of stores just because they don't want to do their jobs.

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