Toy company Hasbro is causing quite the war of the worlds in the domain of all things playful with their latest addition to their Transformers range. There’s a new Decepticon on the block, and it’s not just his evil expression that’s upsetting people…
Yes, the new villain in town has instigated a highly heated debate between US and UK fans of the toys after Hasbro announced that their new baddie is to be called ‘Spastic’. Many of us in the UK will recognise the term ‘spastic’ to be a derogatory term, derived from the disability ‘spastic paralysis’. Over in the US of A, however, the term (most frequently shortened to ‘spaz’) is often used casually as a word for clumsiness, or somebody getting a bit over-excited.
Hasbro aren’t usually ones to risk their reputation over something as trivial as the name of the toy, but it seems that this time they’ve certainly forgotten to scope the subject material at hand. And, after a number of complaints, Hasbro have now had to scrap the launch of the toy this side of the pond. They still plan to go ahead with the launch in America, but have said they were shocked by the level of outcry caused outside their own borders.
They were expecting their character ‘Spastic’ (part of a range of combinable models) to be the biggest seller of 2011 upon its official launch in January. Now though they’ve had to release a statement to say that the toy “will not be available via traditional retail channels in Europe, including the UK”.
Having to exclude the entire European market because of the name of a toy is going to hurt Hasbro’s pockets, I’d expect. Still though, I’m a little old for playing with Transformers now. Especially while I still have all my Lego upstairs.