Pro Tip: If you want people to continue buying your products, it's probably a bad idea to throw a racist tantrum on Twitter.
Bratz and LOL Surprise dolls have been wildly popular for years, not only among children but also collectors and young adults. Both doll lines take their cues from pop culture and subcultures to keep their lines fresh and fun.
Artist Amina Mucciolo—popularly known as Tasselfairy—believes the LOL Surprise line took their "cultural cue" idea too far and created a doll designed after her without her consent or credit. She's got some compelling evidence.
When she went public with the accusation, however, the company's billionaire CEO Isaac Larian handled it poorly.
Very, very poorly.
So poorly, in fact, that many people don't even think it matters whether or not the company purposefully stole Amina's image. In the court of public opinion, LOL Surprise dolls have already lost.
He got on Twitter and publicly called her a disgrace to Black people and the BLM movement.
He then told her he "will no longer be nice" and threatened to sue her for multiple things. Breaking News: The Definition of "Nice" Has Evidently Changed.
He deleted the tweets, but hey screenshots are forever.
Isaac Larian / Twitter Screenshot
We know, a racist tirade doesn't seem like the sort of response that even makes sense contextually when it comes to talking about dolls, but here's a little sumthin' sumthin' you might not know about artists and influencers of color—they deal with a lot of blatant corporate racism.
Over and over again companies collaborate with White artists, but steal and repackage from artists of color without giving them any credit, pay or even acknowledgment. Artists of color are paid less for the same work. Large companies blatantly take art, use it and then shrug or backpedal with excuses when they are called out.
Amina herself has been through it before.
In October of 2019 she even ended up "evicted because of Lisa Frank." She accused them of stealing her apartment design, which featured widely in her work, for their hotel rooms. The images side by side are incredibly damning, Amina's apartment was designed in 2017 and had been featured in almost all of her work since then, and while the company collaborated with White artists on designs, she says they outright stole from her.
Millions of people agree with her, but so far all Amina got was evicted. Her landlord refused to take her payment and told her that she needed to vacate her apartment before the launch of the Lisa Frank Hotel, which happened to be in her development.
On the heels of what many believe was blatant corporate theft and racism, Amina found herself getting new messages from people saying LOL Surprise made her into a doll.
Except, as far as she knew, they didn't.
"The first thing I noticed was the exact replica of a hairstyle I did to celebrate my 35th birthday. It was aqua with rainbow highlights, and it was shocking because the hairstyle was the result of my imagination and leftover hair I had from the previous style I wore."
"I didn't have a visual reference [to copy] or anything, so it was disturbing to see something that came straight from my mind, to be duplicated on a toy that I had no part in creating."
She wore that hairstyle from November 2018 through to about mid-February 2019.
In April of 2019, LOL Surprise contacted Amina to be a guest on their YouTube channel to talk about kid's interior design. The doll, called Rainbow Raver, was released in June 2019, so well after Amina had worn the unique look and worked directly with the company.
Not only did she work with them, but she did so at their request; establishing that they had been watching her previously and knew exactly who she was.
She attempted to contact the company, but says she was ignored so she went public.
LOL Surprise responded with their own timeline, claiming the doll had been approved for production in September 2018, which would have been two months before Amina rocked the distinctive hairstyle.
However no evidence has yet been made public.
Social media argued back and forth for a while.
Then Larian had LOL complain to her platforms that her sharing a picture of the doll violated DMCA and all of her posts with evidence were removed. So Amina had to go and spend her own money to buy the doll herself so that she could post pictures of the doll she owned as a workaround so that the company could no longer have her posts removed.
Amina again posted about the issue.
That is when Larian went off.
Not only did he drop the gem we showed you previously, he made it a point to comment on Amina's posts, telling her he was going to make her social media disappear.
He repeatedly demanded she publicly post the name and phone number of her lawyer. He called her more names and attacked her followers.
Ms. Mucciolo says seeing his response left her stunned.
"He is someone who doesn't even know me or anything about me. Yet he called me a failure and a fraud and a disgrace to Black people. All of this because I dared to stand up for myself. It was way over the line and it was extremely hurtful."
At this point, however believable or plausible LOL's story was, people no longer cared.
The founder and CEO had gone out of his way to personally attack her in a way people felt was vile.
Twitter didn't hold back.
Larian issued a statement saying he made his posts out of frustration because Amina's actions were "attacking the product."
He then claimed the doll was designed by a Black man and re-stated the timeline for production. He also claimed his team tried to reach out to Amina.
Which just lead to more questions that neither the company or Larian answered.
Larian has since deleted his Twitter account.
Mucciolo stands by her version of events and her evidence.
"I will continue to speak up for myself because I feel like in doing so, I'm also speaking up for every other Black artist and independent creative, who is experiencing this kind of theft, but may not have the kind of platform I do."
"This behavior from big corporations has to stop. It's too easy just to pay and collaborate with an artist instead of stealing."
She is currently seeking a lawyer.