Hatchimals are reportedly swearing at children, and parents throughout the United States are taking their complaints to the manufacturer and social media. Although it is unclear what the stuffed animals are actually saying, parents believe the talking toys are saying “f*ck me.”
As explained on the company website, Hatchimals are robotic stuffed animals — which hatch from a large plastic egg.
When purchased, the eggs are completely intact and will not hatch without human interaction. Therefore, children are encouraged to hold and gently play with their egg until the animal begins to emerge.
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) December 31, 2016
Before hatching, Hatchimals makes noises and changes their glowing eye color to indicate how they are “feeling” and when they are prepared to begin cracking open their shell. For example, blue eyes indicate the animal is feeling frightened, and rainbow eyes indicate it is prepared to “peck” its way out of its shell.
As each animal is different, the entire hatching process can take over an hour depending on the degree of interaction.
Once hatched, the Hatchimal goes through several stages of development.
During the “baby stage,thereafter” children are encouraged to cuddle, pet, and “feed,” and entertain their Hatchimal to help it progress to the next stage. During the “toddler stage,” children have an opportunity to teach their animal to walk, dance, and talk. During the final stage, which is the “kid stage,” the Hatchimal will play interactive games, which include “silly sounds,” “tag,” and “Hatchimal says.”
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) December 30, 2016
Although the interactive toys were one of the most popular gifts during the Christmas season, they do not always perform as expected. As reported by CNN, parents have posted numerous videos to YouTube, claiming Hatchimals are swearing at their children.
According to Spin Master, which manufacturers the popular toys, Hatchimals “communicate by speaking their own language, which is made up of random sounds, and by making other noises… while they sleep.”
Although the company denies claims that Hatchimals are programmed to swear, the toys are capable of learning and repeating new words — including swear words.
Despite the company’s reassurance, parents are complaining that the “defective” toys are all uttering the same offensive phrase, and they are doing it while they are supposed to be “asleep.”
In addition to Hatchimals swearing, parents have reported some of the toys are not hatching from their eggs. Others hatched, but inexplicably stopped working after that.
Parents are also concerned, as their calls to the Spin Master customer service line went unanswered.
In a statement to CNN, a company spokesperson acknowledged the issue. However, they said Spin Master “increased the number of case representatives, extended [their] hours, and increased the capacity for callers in the queue to help prevent” dropped calls.
The Hatchimals swearing scandal is the most recent involving a talking toy. However, parents have reported similar issues with other toys in the past.
In 2015, parents reported Minions toys from McDonald’s were saying “what the f*ck.” As reported by Tech Times, McDonald’s apologized for “any confusion or offense.” But, they insist the toys were simply speaking “Minionese… which is a random combination of many languages and nonsense words and sounds.”
In 2014, Talina Evans was stunned when her daughter’s talking Barbie doll seemed to utter the phrase “what the f*ck.” Although a Mattel representative insists the doll was actually saying “off the hook,” Evans is not convinced. As reported by E! News, Evans insists, “you can hear [the swear words] loud and clear.”
In 1998, a doll based on the Telletubby Po became a point of controversy because it reportedly said “fa**ot” and “bite my butt.” As reported by CBS News, the “offensive” dolls were recalled and the newer versions had new recordings. However, the company insists the original recording was simply “a Cantonese woman saying ‘faster, faster’ and ‘slower, slower’.”
It is difficult to determine whether the Hatchimals are swearing because they do seem to be speaking their own language. However, it is possible that they can learn curse words if they are specifically taught to say them.
[Featured Image by pathdoc/Shutterstock]