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Environment

Barbie, 7 Kens Scale Mattel Headquarters in El Segundo, Protest Doll Boxes Made From Indonesian Rainforests

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Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 2:45 PM

click to enlarge Protest Barbie has brief wig malfunction - MOLLY PETERSON/KPCC
  • Molly Peterson/KPCC
  • Protest Barbie has brief wig malfunction
Apparently inspired by last month's super meta Disney protest -- in which Burbank activists dressed as Mickey and Minnie chained themselves to the front gates of corporate headquarters and hung a banner reading "Disney: Destroying Indonesia's Rainforests" across Walt's classic arch -- Barbie and seven Kens staged a nearly identical stunt at Mattel's office in El Segundo today.

This time, though, your reluctant Greenpeace donations were at work. City News Service reports that eight professional tree-huggers from one of environmentalism's fattest orgs...

... played their own game of dress-up this morning, taking Operation Deforestation to what Mattel officials are calling "inflammatory" new heights:

Starting about 9 a.m., activists dressed as Ken rappelled down the side of the main building to unveil the ["Barbie, it's over: I don't date girls that are into

deforestation''] banner, and among those arrested was a woman dressed as Barbie.

According to KPCC, the banner also linked to Greenpeace's Facebook profile, which, dizzyingly, is now tagged in a photo of the banner snapped earlier today:

click to enlarge CEREPLAST, INC.
Super cutely, but also kind of counterproductively, the message also plays on Mattel's imaginary Valentine's Day reunion of Barbie and Ken, an obvious publicity stunt to get a new generation of elementary schoolers hooked on booby plastic. (Now that Bratz won the catfight and all.)

Anyway, Barbie and her Kens were quickly arrested by El Segundo police officers for trespassing, although -- small victory -- their painstakingly hung banner was still up as of 11:30 a.m.

Barbie with her bulldozer:

click to enlarge GREENPEACE VIA FLICKR
City News quotes a Greenpeace statement issued as explanation for the protest:

"Unwrap the glossy pink box and you'll find Barbie's dirty secret. Her packaging is made from the rainforests of Indonesia, which are being ripped down for quick profits.''

Of course, Mattel's PR team is firing back, claiming the toy company has been doing everything within its power to work with Mother Nature.

"Playing responsibly has long been an important part of Mattel's business practices, as evidenced by our Corporate Responsibility activities during the past decade.

Over the past months, we have been in communication with Greenpeace on a variety of papersourcing issues. We are surprised and disappointed that they have taken this inflammatory approach ... We will continue to assess our paper sourcing and packaging improvements as we move forward.''

Weak. How about a limited-edition Protest Barbie, packaged in tofu or palm frond or whatever's greenest these days, to show y'all truly care?

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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