Filed under: ToysBy Michelle R. Smith
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- It was an embarrassing Christmas for Nivea Cabrera after she was accused by her fiance's mother of letting her 5-year-old granddaughter play with a sex toy. A mortified Carbrera asked the child where she got the penis-shaped plastic cylinder. "It's from my Play-Doh," the girl replied. Hasbro, the Pawtucket-based toy company, is now doing damage control over the extruder tool in its Play-Doh Cake Mountain toy. The two-piece syringe-like tool, which includes a tube with corkscrew-type ridges around the outside and a dome-shaped top with a hole at the tip, can be used to squeeze Play-Doh to look like decorative cake frosting.
Complaints have been surfacing since at least November, when Tulsa, Oklahoma, TV station KTUL showed the tool to parents and asked them what they thought. The station blurred the image of the tool during the piece, saying it was due to parents' reactions. One woman told the station it was "a pretty phallic cake-decorating piece."
After Christmas, comments started pouring in to Play-Doh's Facebook page, including from Cabrera, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She said Hasbro called her after she posted a photo of the tool and asked about the shape on Christmas Day. She said the company offered to send her a replacement tool in a different shape, which she has not received.
'It Was Hysterical'
Erin Rivers, a mother of two from Melbourne, Florida, thought it was hilarious when she helped her 6-year-old daughter open the box. "I pulled out this extruder tool, and I just started cracking up at it, I couldn't help it. Then I immediately put the Play-Doh in it and took a picture of," she said.
Then, she posted it on Facebook. "My friends have just as dirty minds as I do," she said. "It was hysterical to me. And then I gave it my daughter to play with." She said her daughter and 4-year-old son don't notice anything strange about the toy.
Hasbro Inc. has received thousands of comments on the Play-Doh Facebook page pointing out the obvious. "We are in the process of updating all future Play-Doh products with a different tool," it said in a statement posted Tuesday. It also offered to replace the tool for anyone who has complaints.
Rivers, who works in a pediatric dental office, says she's not upset at all. But she is flabbergasted that the toy slipped past so many layers of people at Hasbro. "They have to have someone who creates it, someone who makes the plastic mold, someone who plays with it," she said. "I can't imagine that as many people that probably saw the toy, not one person said, 'Does anyone else think this looks like a penis?'"