EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Mattel is addressing the backlash it has received regarding the Asian representation in its Olympic Barbie collection.
The company announced the Barbie Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 dolls last year but recently promoted them, saying it’s “committed to empowering girls to participate in sports.”
However, many people online pointed out that the collection didn’t appear to include an Asian doll. The perceived omission was especially prominent since Asian Americans like gold medal-winning gymnast Suni Lee captured the spotlight at this year’s Summer Games.
Responding to the backlash, Mattel said its intention was to represent the Asian community with its skateboarder doll, which has reddish-brown hair.
Social media users have said they don’t feel that doll appears Asian, and the company has said that it recognizes it “fell short.”
“With our Barbie Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 dolls, we celebrate a range of athletes to inspire kids to find their athlete within. However, our intention to represent the Asian community with the Skateboarder doll fell short and we fully receive and recognize the feedback,” a Mattel spokesperson said in a statement provided to The E.W. Scripps Company.
Mattel said it will work to be more inclusive in the future.
“Moving forward, we will work to find more ways to champion all representation and celebrate the amazing achievements of all Olympic athletes, who are showing us that anything is possible,” said the spokesperson.