Dear Hasbro; My Letter to the CEO

Dear Hasbro; My Letter to the CEO September 17, 2013

On August 30, I had the extreme displeasure of learning about Hasbro’s newest creation, The Magic Jinn.  I shared my findings on Facebook, then again on Twitter.  I even wrote about it here. I made sure to ask friends and strangers their thoughts.

Last week, I decided to write Hasbro Inc.

On Friday, I sent email to the executive administration at Hasbro Inc.

Stack of Letters

Yesterday, I mailed 20 letters to the executive administration and board of directors at Hasbro Inc.  I have no idea if I will hear back from them, but I couldn’t just sit by and say nothing. I need your help.  Tell Hasbro that they need to remove The Magic Jinn from their product line and issue a public apology to Muslims world-wide.

September 14, 2013

Brian Goldner

President and Chief Executive Officer

Hasbro Inc.

1027 Newport Ave

Pawtucket, RI 02861

Dear Mr. Goldner:

I have been a Hasbro customer for my entire life. I grew up in Ohio and have had Tonka Trucks, Mr. Potato Head and Elmo toys to play with and enjoy all throughout my childhood. Once I became a parent, I turned to Hasbro toys to entertain, engage and help educate my children.

On Friday, August 30, 2013 I had the extreme displeasure of learning about your new toy, The Magic Jinn.  As the mother of three Muslim children, I was offended and ashamed that Hasbro chose to develop a toy by this name. After watching several videos of the toy in action, I knew I had to contact Hasbro about The Magic Jinn.

From the standpoint of a non-Muslim consumer, I can understand how one would not know the cultural and religious connotations of the word ‘Jinn,’ however once anyone makes a cursory search for the definition of the word, they would find that ‘Jinn’ is from Arabic and Islamic origins, meaning Genie or Spiritual Creature.  They would also find that they are able to appear in human or animal form and possess humans. A cursory ‘What are Jinn?’ search would tell the non-Muslim that Jinn are evil. They would not know that there are good Jinn and evil Jinn. These descriptions are reflected by the Magic Jinn’s flashing eyes, pointed ears and devil like tail. This toy perpetrates the myth that everything associated with Islam and Muslims is evil.

From the standpoint of the Muslim consumer, The Magic Jinn does nothing to further cultural and religious dialogue with non-Muslims but continues to Orientalize the Islamic Faith. The toy teaches children that it is okay to communicate with Jinn, which is forbidden in Islam.

The Magic Jinn is meant to be a take off and re-marketing of the Magic Eight Ball, creating a toy that ‘reads’ the child’s mind by the use of deductive reasoning programming. Your consumers understand re-branding old ideas. What doesn’t make sense in this global economy is marginalizing a culture and belief system in a misguided effort to reach diverse markets.

Hasbro Inc. needs to remove all of The Magic Jinn merchandise from store shelves and discontinue The Magic Jinn app.  This toy needs to be renamed and re-marketed with a different approach.

In the future, Hasbro would benefit greatly from an expanded, culturally diverse research and development team, as well as, cultural and religious sensitivity policies.

I look forward to your prompt attention and action concerning The Magic Jinn.

Sincerely,

Kristina M. ElSayed

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I have to agree with this and for those who may think this over reacting, suppose it was marketed as a Magic Jesus or a Magic Buddhist? A toy should not have political connotations but be simply a toy to be played with.

    • alissa

      Magic Jesus would be more comparable to a Magic Allah. Your comparison is off. Way off.

      • Anonymous

        Lol! Magic Jesus IS NOT comparable to Magic Allah. From what I understand Allah is Arabic for God. Arab Christians by the way say “Allah” when they refer to God.

    • JJ.

      Communicating with Jinns is NOT haram. Please stop insulting the prophet and the muslim people of the world with your incorrect interpretation and beliefs.

  • Wow I found your post through Blog Her. I have to honest I was very ignorant of all the facts your listed in your post. My family got to test a Magic Jinn through BzzAgent. I really didn’t like the toy because it didn’t work for us well. It could never figure out what we were thinking. Never in a million years I would think that it was offensive until I read your post. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am definitely taking it from our kids and getting rid of it. I do hope that Hasbro listens.

  • Julie

    Total over reaction! Pirate’s are real people killing and torturing and yet the number of glorified pirate toysis huge. What about the genie in Aladdin? I don’t think people in general will have any worse perception of Muslims because of this.

    • alissa

      Agreed!

  • jack johnson

    the simple solution if you are offended is not to buy one. dont expect people, or companies to change, according to your expectation.

  • As a non-Muslim, I had no idea of any cultural reference and had never heard of this toy before I read your post, then watched a demo on YouTube. I don’t find the toy itself offensive and for me personally, it has created no derogatory perceptions of Muslims, but if it is going to upset/offend so many – then Hasbro should simply take changing it’s name into consideration. I think a full recall is rather drastic.
    They really should have done their homework in the first place, as any name with any sort of religious affiliation is a definite no-no.

  • Christine

    Thanks for sharing your letter. I agree that consumer products companies, especially those that are marketing themselves as helping to educate and entertain children, need to be paying more attention to and developing products for what our country and culture actually looks like today. It is astonishing to think that the extensive R&D teams and countless marketers who no doubt worked on this product never came across or discussed any notions about the inflammatory use of “jinn”, but perhaps that is the case. (Or perhaps it was even seen as a multi-culti ‘win’ to superficially appropriate an Arabic word for the name. Can you picture that brainstorming session?)

  • alissa

    I watched the video about the toy. Looks like fun! I’d buy one for my nephews.

  • Bourbon Girl

    So… I don’t know anything, really, about Islam. But, in American culture, the Genie, or Jinn, is something outside of Islam. The Genie in American culture has been around for a long time, starting with our readings of Arabian Nights. Has our culture misappropriated a religion’s higher being? I don’t know. Quite frankly, I didn’t know that Jinns were part of the Muslim religion before reading this. So, having said all that, I want to give you my perspective on the toy.

    Were my children still young enough to want this toy, I still would not buy it. It looks like an irritating toy. I can’t stand toys like that. But… It doesn’t look or sound evil. Instead, it reminds me of Pokemon and other Japanese anime. The idea that it is Orientalizing the Islamic faith is a good one, considering this aspect. I don’t, however, think ANYONE who didn’t already believe that all Muslims are evil is going to think that because of this toy. People who already believe that are unlikely to buy a toy like this for their children because they would think that genies in general are evil, not because they’re Muslim, but because they represent magic, which is, apparently, evil.

    Just my take.

  • Ann

    Wow, I’m astounded by the insensitive comments. Can people really not understand why a person might not want their children to play with a toy that has negative religious connotations to them? What right do you have to judge what a Muslim person finds offensive, unless you are Muslim yourself? Personally, I find the toy just plain creepy!

  • Pingback: We Belong | My Islamic Life()

  • OneTrueKinsman

    The offense is specific to Muslims who agree to find the toy offensive (bigger question is how widespread the offended feeling goes among the Muslim community). What I’m seeing by her note to Hasbro is that she’s offended and she wants the toy removed because of HER offense. So, in essence, she wants to decide FOR ALL OF US that the toy should be changed because of HER offense.

    I think the toy is as annoying as can be made possible and really does nothing to teach kids anything (except for the false idea that a toy can ‘predict’ what the individual child is thinking). We need more toys that teach critical thinking.

  • Anonymous

    Only in America! This is a stupid toy…

  • alyce

    @Julie, actually as I searched this toy, I found a religious site, Luthern, that identified the toy as being Islamic propaganda and equated Islam with demon. So while my concern was this toy teaching children it’s ok to use jinn and magic, I found that it has been equated targeted by anti-Muslim people who believe this toy is trying to convert children to Islam! Which is ludicrous!

  • JJ.

    So don’t buy it ! Is that so hard? And it’s not offensive. It is not forbidden to communicate with Jinns. Disagree, then please quote the text.

  • Monica contreras

    Hello as I’m reading this article on my way home from buying this toy i am passing hasboro ( didn’t know it was hasboro until like three years ago) lol anyways… I got the toy thinking it’s a great smart toy because it’s pretty much a computer . However I am going to go to hasboro personally because they have made so many great toys and this one just scared everyone ! I am from Rhode Island literally down the street from hasboro so I’m going to go see what’s up. Here in Rhode Island we are just too opened.

  • Monica contreras

    Hello as I’m reading this article on my way home from buying this toy i am passing hasboro ( didn’t know it was hasboro until like three years ago) lol anyways… I got the toy thinking it’s a great smart toy because it’s pretty much a computer . However I am going to go to hasboro personally because they have made so many great toys and this one just scared everyone ! I am from Rhode Island literally down the street from hasboro so I’m going to go see what’s up. Here in Rhode Island we are just too opened.

  • Anonymous

    How would you feel if it had a different name? Like Creepy Cat the animal guessing cat1

  • The problem with the toy was that by using the name ‘Jinn,’ Hasbro was linking their creepy toy to Islam. If it was called Creepy Cat or Mr. Whistles it wouldn’t have even pinged my radar.

  • Izarra Rasheed

    Magic Jesus is a fitting comparison since almost every church of the Christian theology has the belief in the trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is a basic canon of Christian doctrine so to say Magic Jesus as in Jesus is God is valid.