The tiny L.O.L Surprise! dolls – which come with accessories, including shoes and different outfits – are a best-seller in Britain – but a secret addition has left many disgusted.
Social media has become rife with reports that soaking some of the figures in cold water reveals adult-style underwear – with one mum claiming the makers are “encouraging the sexualisation of children”.
Lorraine Hardy’s eight-year-old daughter Isabella has been collecting the dolls – which cost around £10 and are just a few inches tall – for years.
But when the former social work manager, 40, decided to put social media claims to the test she was left horrified and demanding answers.
“Frankly, I thought it was a hoax, because I found it hard to believe that one of the world’s biggest toy companies would do something like this,” the mum, from Chalfont St Peter, Bucks, told the Daily Mail.
“Why would a doll that was meant to represent a toddler — some have dummies in their mouths — be secretly dressed in an outfit that looked more suitable for an adult to wear to an S&M club?”
Half of Isabella’s collection emerged from the water wearing the adult underwear, which her mum described as “cross-over bondage-style, accessorised with a mask”.
“I was horrified that I’d given hundreds of pounds to a company encouraging the sexualisation of children. I felt duped,” she added.
Other parents on social media said they’ve also found tattoos, fishnet stockings and devil’s tails when they submerged the dolls in water.
This is despite no apparent warning on the packaging.
In response, LA-based manufacturers MGA Entertainment said it has put in place “corrective measures” after a “small number showed inappropriate attire or markings”.
The product line was first released in 2016, bringing in the company an impressive fortune – last year alone saw £3.9 billion in sales.
Firm head Isaac Larian, 66, also oversaw the Bratz toy range to market in 2001, which, despite immense popularity, were criticised for their hyper-sexualised appearances.
The American Psychological Association issued a report raising concerns about how the dolls “objectified adult sexuality” despite being aimed at four to eight-year-olds.
In 2019, the boy L.O.L range had genitalia added causing further stir among critics.
In August, meanwhile, Tesco and other retailers removed the company’s Na! Na! Na! Surprise dolls after Vale of Glamorgan dad Adam Weaver found one he purchased for his daughter, 7, was wearing a lacy pink corset, stockings and suspenders.