By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
During the same week that a nationwide boycott of Hasbro and Toys R Us was launched over the marketing of a pink ouija board for girls, Toys R Us has removed the product from their website and claims they are “phasing out” the product.
Kathleen Waugh, spokesperson for Toys R Us, claims to have known nothing about the boycott when the board was removed from the site.
“This item has been on clearance for awhile,” she said. “It was introduced in 2008 and it’s been on clearance because we’re phasing it out and new products are being introduced for 2010. It sold out on the web site and we have very few pieces left in our stores.”
According to Ms. Waugh, they have no intention of ordering more pink Ouija boards from Hasbro.
However, Hasbro, which manufacturers the board, claims Toys R Us is the only place where the board is sold in the USA and Canada.
Their spokesperson, Donetta Allen, claimed to know nothing about the Toys R Us plans to phase out the board.
“Ouija continues to be a popular game in the family game category,” Ms. Allen said, noting that Hasbro has been making the board since 1967.
“Ouija is simply a game — and it is intended purely for fun and entertainment,” she said.
This occult-based “game,” which is used to communicate with the dead, has a long and dark history. Its use by a young boy to contact a favorite aunt who had died was the cause of the famous demonic possession portrayed in the blockbuster film, The Exorcist. Stories of possession, oppression, mental and emotional breakdowns, even insanity and suicide have been associated with the board according to professionals such as psychologists, medical doctors and law enforcement officials.
The man who launched the boycott two weeks ago, John Cain of Ottawa, Ontario, isn’t buying it. “Personally I do not believe Toys R Us about their plans to phase out this item,” he said. “Their track record speaks for itself concerning this issue; when contacted in 2008 by Stephan Phelan of Human Life International, they not only denied selling the pink version but also claimed they sold no Ouija boards what so ever.”
He believes Hasbro will wait this and go back to business as usual after the dust settles. “To cave in (to the boycott) would set a bad precedent for them,” Cain said. “Their pockets are deep enough to withstand a brief media storm.”
He also discovered that publicity from the boycott caused the price of the game to more than double. For example, Amazon’s price rose from $19.95 to $44.95.
“Hopefully, the cost of this device will drive it from sight,” Cain said.
While Toys R Us may be “phasing out” the pink board, it continues to market a “Glow in the Dark” version to children ages 8+.
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