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Austin Powers Too 'Horny' for Toy Store
An Austin Powers tie-in toy finds itself the latest piece of plastic accused of corrupting the nation's morals. Per usual, the doll had nothing to say for itself, save for: "Do I make you horny, baby? Do I?"
It's that very prerecorded line that landed the Austin "Danger" Powers Ultra-Cool Action Figure in hot water. This week, a mother in the Atlanta area filed a police complaint against a local Toys "R" Us for stocking the playboy-talking collectible.
Tamatha Brannon, of East Point, Georgia, is miffed that she had to field a question about the meaning of "horny" from 11-year-old son Marvin during a shopping trip to the retailer last weekend. (The offending catch phrase, cribbed from Mike Myers' comedy hit, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, is printed on the box and apparently caught Marvin's eye.)
"This is not acceptable," Brannon told reporters at a press conference in the Toys "R" Us parking lot on Tuesday. "My son is not old enough to be talking about sex..."
There was no comment from Marvin.
Brannon said the shagadelic Austin Powers doll (our description, not hers) was not an appropriate product for Toys "R" Us--and it turns out she's right. Toys "R" Us, and other mass-market retailers, like Wal-Mart and Kmart, weren't supposed to get the Ultra-Cool Austins.
"In the course of manufacturing any product, a thing called human error comes into play," said Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, in a statement.
McFarlane's Arizona-based company produces the Austin dolls. He said the figure that asks users about the relative state of their horniness was meant for an older crowd and earmarked for record stores and specialty outlets, like gag-toilet-paper mecca Spencer Gifts. Toys "R" Us is supposed to get dolls that merely ask, "Would you fancy a shag?"
"That this figure with the sound chip, 'Do I make you horny? Do I?,'...was shipped to a store in Atlanta is nothing more than an isolated event of human error," McFarlane said.
McFarlane was definitely not apologizing, though, for making a "horny"-spouting toy.
"The discussion of what is appropriate for each individual family should be decided upon without that value being placed on the rest of society," he said.
For the record, Brannon doesn't think "shag"--Brit slang for, um, fornication--is appropriate kiddie talk, either.
"I don't think any of those words should be in a child's toy store," she said Tuesday. "If they don't correct this, my son won't be back there."
So far, Toys "R" Us is merely pulling the misrouted "horny" Austins from shelves.
Meanwhile, at the Clayton County Police Department in Jonesboro, Georgia, where Brannon formally accused the chain of peddling obscene material, the case of the out-of-line action figure is considered closed, with no charges pursued.
Authorities have decided that Ultra-Cool Austin "wasn't that obscene," Captain Doug Jewett said today.
The Austin Powers toy joins a growing list of inanimate objects--Tarzan and Teletubbies figures, included--criticized for alleged rude behavior.
June 23, 1999
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