Local News

Teletubby Needs His Mouth Washed Out

Posted December 26, 1998

— The days when a child's doll merely gurgled or cooed benignly seem to be long gone. A Spring Lake woman got more than she bargained for when she bought one of the holiday season's hottest toys.

She says a speaking Teletubby doll spits out phrases that aren't fit for young ears.

Jacqueline McDowell couldn't believe what she was hearing after her son unwrapped his red Teletubby doll on Christmas day. It seemed to be using derogatory words for gays.

"It was an offensive word geared toward gays, gay people in general. And it was not appropriate for a child," McDowell says.

McDowell thought she was hearing it wrong. When she opened the doll to listen more closely, it got even worse.

"And then it said something to the effect of 'Bite my bottom.'"

McDowell had bought three Teletubbies for her children. The yellow and green dolls sound just fine.

"Mine says good words," announces Saetyre. The 2-year-old loves his Teletubby. He's hardly let go of it since Christmas.

His mother wanted him to have a speaking doll to help with his language skills. It's working. Saetyre repeats everything his doll says.

"He's already learned that language. He's learned something that I don't think is appropriate for anybody to say. And as a mother I am trying to teach my kids good values."

"I think I need to throw it away," McDowell has concluded.

She hoped to exchange the doll for one that doesn't talk trash. But the stores are sold out.

Even if she could find another Teletubby, she's afraid the damage is already done.

The toy's manufacturer couldn't be reached for comment over the holiday weekend.

A manager at the store where McDowell bought the doll says they haven't received any other complaints.


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