A consumer group in New York has asked toy maker Hasbro to stop selling “assault style” rifles that fire foam Nerf darts, Daily Wire reports.
The Empire State Consumer Project sent a letter to Hasbro, saying, “As the holidays approach, we are reminded of our mission to protect the safety of children.”
“As we watch holiday toy commercials, we see the Nerf Ultra One and other extreme Nerf machine guns for children and are reminded of mass shootings that have devastated American children and families for decades now. In these times, the TV ad for this product plays like a Saturday Night Live parody, except that it is not at all funny,” said the Dec. 3 letter.
The ESCP’s complaint appears to have been sparked by a hilarious commercial that shows a boy wowed after receiving Nerf guns of increasing firepower until his grandma brings the house down with the Ultra One, a drum-fed toy gun that can hold 25 soft foam darts.
“It’s a matter of this being a very vulnerable consumer group. Children buy what they see and we’re not sure this is driven by market demand for assault weapon toys by children or the industry creating the demand,” said the letter, written by Carol Chittenden, director of the Project, and Judy Braiman, president of the group.
“When your products themselves violate most of your proclaimed corporate values, something is very wrong. How does promoting play with huge automatic weapons create joy, creativity and connection around the world, and across generations, and make the world a better place for children? How do these weapon products use your business as a force for good? Who would this child be shooting with his cache of assault weapons?”
“Toy guns are one thing,” the ESCP wrote, “but these emblems of mass destruction take them to the next, horrifying level.”
“In one of the most creative industries on earth, how does one of the country’s largest toy producers fall so short in coming up with innovative toys that spark the peace-filled imaginations of children? If your research shows that children are craving toy assault weapons, you have missed the mark. Parents will tell you that many are afraid of going to school because of the stories they see and hear when a school shooting occurs. Surely, those of you who are parents understand,” the letter says.
The letter goes on to say that “Corporate social responsibility is not a slogan; it is what calls you to raise the bar in the interests of children and become a source for the non-violent creative playthings children deserve.”
“Marketing assault weapon toys to this most vulnerable group of consumers is an assault on their dignity and their worth as human beings. We implore you to remove assault-style toy weapons from your product offering. Social responsibility asks for a connection between the hearts of board members and the people who generate their profits, in this case, the children. Be responsible to these children; be leaders on this issue your shareholders will thank you.”