By Heather Farrell
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. You’re walking through the toy store and your child has a fit about a toy they want, but you won’t get it. Now, let’s make this situation a little more interesting. The toy store you’re at is Toys R Us and the toy your child is screaming about is a Walter White action figure complete with a duffle bag of bank notes and a fake bag of crystal meth. Just what you were planning to get your child for Christmas, right?
Walter White isn’t the only Breaking Bad character on display. Jesse Pinkman, White’s student, has become an action figure as well. His accessory is a gas mask. Critics sarcastically have commented that Toys R Us is at least promoting proper safety precautions.
For those of you who don’t know, Breaking Bad is a television show on AMC. It follows chemistry teacher, Walter White, who was diagnosed with stage three lung cancer and only given a short time to live. White lives in New Mexico along with his pregnant wife and his son who has cerebral palsy. To ensure financial stability, White creates and sells his own “blue meth” alongside his former student Jesse Pinkman.
Of course, selling drugs is both risky and illegal and the pair have to get creative to stay out of trouble. White faces some obstacles but always finds a way to get past them (usually by killing someone). He operates under the alias Heisenberg. White’s brother-in-law is trying to track down Heisenberg, unaware that Heisenberg is in fact White.
To sum it up, this is not a child-friendly show. There are drugs, violence, and profanity. So why would the world’s most well-known toy store be selling these dolls?
According to the chain store, these toys were not meant for young children. Toys R Us says that the Walter White action figure is found in the adult section of the store and is labeled on the packaging that the item is for those ages fifteen and up—you know, in the really small writing on the bottom and back of the package that no one ever really reads.
As most people know, children don’t care where they find toys. If they see something in the bathroom they like, they’re going to ask their parents to buy it for them. They also don’t look up at the signs to see what section their trinkets are in. Their parents, on the other hand, are too concerned about running after them to care.
So, what would you do if your child wanted to get a doll holding a bag of drugs? Would you buy it?
In the sunny state of Florida, a mother is protesting Toys R Us’ new commodity. Susan Schrivjer, a Fort Meyers resident, says the toys “aren’t suitable” for Toys R Us’ best consumers–children. Schrivjer is demanding that the store pull the dolls from its shelves. She claims they dignify the use of drugs. Schrivjer visited the Today show and said, “Anything to do with drugs is not doing the right thing. I just think that they [Toys R Us] need to look at their visions and values, as they call them.”
Schrivjer has started a petition on change.org but under the name Susan Meyers. Change.org is a website people use to start petitions and try to surmount a dilemma by gaining signatures from all over the globe. Currently, the petition has over 7,000 signatures. She titled it “Remove Breaking Bad dolls from their shelves.”
In response to Schrivijer’s protest, the actor who plays Walter White, Bryan Cranston, posted a tweet. “’Florida mom petitions against Toy’s R Us over Breaking Bad action figures.’ I’m so mad, I’m burning my Florida Mom action figure in protest.” At least he can make a joke about it, but many other parents still aren’t laughing. After signing the petition, parents and grandparents alike commented their disgust with the toy giant.
The petition has definitely achieved what it has set out to do. Toys R Us released an official statement saying “Let’s just say, the action figures have taken an ‘indefinite sabbatical.’” Breaking Bad stars have gone to social media to express their opinions on the toy’s removal. Cranston tweeted another statement about Schrivijer commenting, “Toys R Us puts Breaking Bad toys on ‘indefinite sabbatical.’ Word on the street is that they were sent to Belize. Nicely played Florida Mom.”
Cranston’s co-star, the real-life Jesse Pinkman, sent out two consecutive tweets. The first tweet said, “Wait, so @ToysRUs pulled all of the Breaking Bad figures from their shelves and still sells Barbie? Hmmmm…I wonder what is more damaging?” and the next said “And what about all of the violent video games you sell @ToysRUs ? Do you still sell those? Florida mom really messed it up for everyone.”
Next time you make a trip to Toys R Us, don’t go in with the expectation that you are going to buy a Walter White action figure because you will just leave with disappointment.