According to the president of One Dollar Zone, roughly 1,000 black rag dolls were pulled from three stores in Bayonne and New Jersey. The “Feel Better” rag dolls came with the instructions: “Whenever things don’t go well and you want to hit the wall and yell, here’s a little ‘feel better doll.’ Just grab it firmly by the legs and find a wall to slam the doll, and as you whack the ‘feel good doll’ do not forget to yell I FEEL GOOD, I FEEL GOOD.”
The dolls were made from black fabric, and had red, green, black and yellow yarn dreadlocks style hair, with large white eyes and a white smile.
State Assemblywoman Angela McKnight called the dolls offensive and inappropriate.
Speaking to News 12 New Jersey, McKnight, who represents Bayonne and other areas of Jersey City, said: “It tells a little kid to in order to feel well you take this and you throw it against a wall. And you whack her – her – and while you’re doing that, you say ‘I feel good. I feel good.’ That's bullying. That's domestic violence. That's not love and that's instructions to tell a kid how to be violent.”
New Jersey State Senator Sandra Cunningham called the dolls offensive. She stated: “It brings back the thoughts of slavery. That is not what you can do. So it's not censorship, not if you do something that purposefully hurts other people.”
In a Facebook post, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis called the dolls “insensitive,” adding that they “can certainly be considered racist.”
He wrote: “Aside from the shock of seeing such an insensitive product being sold in our community, I am grateful for the people that saw it and said something immediately. I also want to thank Assemblywoman McKnight for her quick response and assistance. We will not tolerate any symbol of hate and division within our community! #WeAreBayonne.”
Ricky Shah, the president of One Dollar Zone, apologized for the dolls' presence on the store shelves. He stated that they had been pulled on Monday after images of the dolls surfaced online.
The dolls were manufactured by the Harvey Hutter Co. which Shah revealed was no longer in business.
Efforts to reach the manufacturer or the supplier, Global Souvenir Marketing, proved futile.