City Desk

Black Doll with Panda: Okay. Black Doll with Monkey: Not So Much.

The black baby doll wearing a "Lil' monkey" hat – and cuddling with a stuffed monkey – is no more.

The Associated Press reports that Costco has pulled the African-American version of the "Cuddle with Me, Doll with Plush Monkey" after receiving complaints about its possible racist connotations. The white and Hispanic Lil' monkeys are still available (not racist), as is the black doll cuddling a panda (also not racist).

"We are sensitive to any complaint that a product we carry would cause discomfort to any segment of our membership," Costco CEO Jim Sinegal said in a statement. "As soon as it became clear to us that this toy item was offensive to some of our members, we decided to remove it from our warehouses. We don't believe there is room for argument in matters of this type, even though it was an honest mistake, made while we were attempting to do the right thing."


This is the latest in a string of monkey references whose propriety has been debated: There was, if you recall, the New York Post cartoon back in February that depicted a crazed monkey, shot and bleeding on the ground, as the author of the economic stimulus bill, which was either a. a "clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut" and a broad mockery of Washington’s efforts to revive the economy, as the Post's editor-in- chief, Col Allan, said at the time, or b. a racially-hateful depiction of Barack Obama as a primate, as the Rev. Al Sharpton insisted.

(It could also have been c. a really dumb cartoon that kind of didn't even make sense and was in bad taste beyond any discussion of race, given that the crazed chimpanzee had actually killed a woman.)

It might be noted that George W. Bush was often compared to a monkey himself, given the way he, well, looked like a monkey. Someone even started a website asking "Bush or Chimp?" that posted pictures of the two, side by side. That, of course, was not racist.

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  • Janet

    This is absolutely ridiculous! It has NOTHING to do with racism. Might as well pull all the white dolls dressed up as farmers of the shelves!!

  • dedra

    im black and i agree with you janet .this doll is cute AND I WANT ONE :)

  • Cheryl

    Ok the two of you both are missing the main point. I am white and totally offended by this. Maybe if it didn't have lil monkey on the hat it would be a little more convincing, but African Americans have endured so much with those harsh words so it may offend some people and that is the key; to make sure your product doesn't offend a race of people. how would you like it if they have a caucasion doll with a plush trailer and the hat read Im a little H*****? I am appauld by this......Oh and I have to children and a husband that is African American. It effects my home in a MAJOR way!

  • The Advoc8te

    @ Cheryl. Exactly. Intentional or not it showed a total lack of sensitivity. I am highly doubtful a person of color was on the develpment or marketing team for that toy manufacturer. Surely if there was someone would have expressed some serious concerns.

  • Robert

    OK, if it isnt racist, then what the heck is it, and who the heck would buy such a "doll"?

    Any moron could conclude that this is not the most marketable thing. Im not thinking PC, Im thinking in terms of dollars and cents. Just sell the black baby doll without the references to it being a monkey. Pure common sense. Duh!