American Girl Doll Karen

Adam Padilla

American Girl walks back criticism of Karen doll

The meme shows a 'Karen' doll with a short blonde haircut and a purple tracksuit.

Jul 7, 2020, 2:43 pm

Internet Culture

Siobhan Ball 

Siobhan Ball

Last month, Adam Padilla, better known as Adam the Creator, riled up the Karen population of the internet when he made an image of an American Girl “Karen” doll. While most people seemed to find the meme pretty funny, the social media team for American Girl didn’t agree, threatening to take action to have the “copyright violating” image removed. Although they’ve since reversed their stance, tweeting that they have “no intention of censoring this parody meme” and anything tweeted to the contrary was a mistake, the damage has already been done.

Advertisement Hide
@DonnaP0423 "@American_Girl  I saw a post of an American Girl doll,Karen, who refuses to wear a mask and carries a gun as disgusting.  Is this what we want to teach our children?" American Girl Doll response "Donna, we were equally disgusted with this post. Please be assured we are taking the appropriate steps to ensure this is removed"
Advertisement Hide
Thank you for taking the time to share this information with us.  We were informed of this post a few days ago and are working with the appropriate teams at American Girl to ensure this copyright violation is handled appropriately.
Advertisement Hide
American Girl has no intention of censoring this parody meme and anything shared to the contrary was in error. We apologize for any misunderstanding.
American Girl Doll

Padilla’s take on what a Karen American Girl Doll would look like involves a velour tracksuit, the classic “speak to the manager” hair cut, a handgun, and a teeny tiny Walmart shopping cart. Set against a grocery aisle backdrop and other dolls wearing masks, the image features the tagline “She’s an independent thinker who refuses to wear a mask in public places!”

Advertisement Hide
Meet Karen 2020 Girl of the Year
Adam Padilla

In other words, it’s a classic Karen joke, and the only people likely to be offended by it are Karens themselves. Fans of American Girl dolls were disappointed that the brand had decided to take action against Padilla’s meme when there are so many other, more serious issues going on right now, with Twitter user @ssbe83 stating that its choice to focus on a meme had changed her mind about buying an American Girl doll for her niece.

Advertisement Hide
https://twitter.com/SurfsideArt/status/1279870892600778752
@SurfsideArt
I had planned to start buying the complete set of American Girl dolls for my niece, beginning on her birthday next month. Note the verb tense,  @American_Girl .
@ssbe83
Advertisement Hide

Others wanted to emphasize the company’s apparent poor understanding of parody and fair use, both of which the meme falls under and which are protected by law.

@mmasnick "It would appear that  @American_Girl  needs to hire a lawyer who understands that parody is protected and not a copyright violation. Hopefully they have good lawyers who understand, otherwise, they may have expensive opposing counsel need to explain it to them." @Kim_D3 "Inappropriately involving the legal system seems so on brand for a gun toting Karen doll."
Advertisement Hide
Here's a couple of terms your legal team might want to look up first:  1) Parody  2) Satire  3) Fair Use
@videonastys
Advertisement Hide

After seeing American Girl’s response to the meme, people began widely sharing it just to spite the company, setting off the Streisand effect—where objecting to something is what ends up making it famous.

Whatever you do,don't share this... and the meme attached
@robotsofbk
Advertisement Hide
"Here’s where  @American_Girl  learns about the Streisand effect. #karen #AmericanGirl" Padilla's meme
@Impistolpeat
Everyone, meet Karen. American Girl's 2020  Girl of the Year~
@LokiLouResists
Advertisement Hide
"I found out about this amusing Karen parody of American Girl dolls because they want it taken down."   #streisandeffect
@_AntaBaka_
Advertisement Hide

The Daily Dot reached out to American Girl for comment, including a request for clarification on their original objection to the image. “American Girl has no intention of censoring this parody and anything shared to the contrary was in error,” a spokesperson said, reiterating its final tweet on the matter.

"Donna we were equally disgusted with this post. Please be assured we are taking the appropriate steps to see it removed" put in a speech bubble attached to the dolls mouth
@DNalesnik
Share this article
*First Published: Jul 7, 2020, 2:43 pm