Mattel Releasing Public Assistance Barbie-Fiction!

Mattel Releasing Public Assistance Barbie-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
Mattel is releasing “Public Assistance Barbie” for the holidays.
The Truth:
An old fake news report from 2014 that a Public Assistance Barbie would be released in time for Christmas began circulating again in 2016.
The report was published by fake news website Empire News on November 19, 2014, under the headline, “Mattel Releasing ‘Public Assistance Barbie’ in Time for Holidays.” It begins:

In a bold move today that is sure to create controversy among fans of the company, Mattel announced its new Barbie doll; ‘Public Assistance Barbie’ will be marketed directly to inner-city youths and children of welfare recipients.

”Since 1959 Barbie dolls have been through major changes to reflect the times we live in. Today with over 40% of Americans on some sort of public assistance, we felt the time was right for ‘Public Assistance Barbie,” said Mattel spokesman Rick Reynolds. “After doing research on people receiving assistance, we have come out with what we think is a fair and sensitive portrayal of that kind of person with our new doll. Each Public Assistance Barbie will come with a new Cadillac, Puma sweats, a pack of Newports, an Obama phone, an EBT card, and a rack of Budweiser. She will also come in three styles: heavily tattooed and pierced, pregnant and smoking, and a ‘black eye’ version from when drunken Ken beat her for not paying the cable bill. Public Assistance Barbies will be on the shelves in time for your holiday purchases, and will come in special theft-deterrent boxes. EBT cards cannot be used to purchase, unfortunately.”

Empire News clearly identifies itself as “for entertainment purposes only” on its “About Page,” but its stories are commonly mistaken for actual breaking news when taken out of context on social media. That’s what happened when the story was picked up in November 2016.