By Jayson Zachery
Video Gamers have to deal with it, Barbie doll collectors have to deal with it, now itʼs the adult action figure collectors turn.
Letʼs be upfront here, this is censorship. Instead of leaving it up to consumers to decide what they will and wonʼt purchase, people are now pushing for items to be removed from store shelves. Itʼs Prohibition all over again, but with action figures.
You may not have heard about the recent controversy, involving the Breaking Bad toyline that was, yes was, on sale at Toys 'R' Us.
Susan Schrivjer of Fort Myers, FL took great offense to the Breaking Bad adult collector figures being sold at Toys R Us. So much offense that she started a Change.org petition, gathering 9,299 supporters. The petition can be found here…
The petition is now closed and "Victory" has been declared. Toys 'R' Us has removed the figures from shelves and even went so far as to post to their Twitter account: "Re: BB "Let's just say, the action figures have taken an 'indefinite sabbatical.ʼ"
The problem here, and this is Soccer Mom Censorship at its worst, is that by taking this action they are both offending and alienating their adult toy collector customers.
Daniel Picket of Actionfigureinsider.com has started his own petition to get the figures back on the shelves, citing that this is not just about the Breaking Bad figures but about the larger principle in question. Picketʼs petition has gained over 10,000 supporters in a fraction of the time as Schrivjerʼs. As of this writing, Pickettʼs petition to get Breaking Bad toys back on Toys 'R' Us shelves has surpassed Schrivjerʼs petition by over 1000 signatures, and itʼs still climbing.
Aaron Paul, star of Breaking Bad, tweeted his support of Pickettʼs petition today on Twitter.
His petition can be viewed here.
He also posted an eloquent follow up here…
Iʼve been paying close attention to this growing issue. Iʼve seen it all over Facebook and Twitter, and definitely on the Toys 'R' Us Facebook page. Dishearteningly, the first argument that people make in defense of Schrivjerʼs petition, is that adult toy collectors have no business collecting toys. That weʼre weird. Flawed. Creepy even. Iʼm offended. Completely and totally offended. Donʼt believe me? Check this news article…
I canʼt make this stuff up. Weʼre being stereotyped. And donʼt think this isnʼt a slippery slope, because it is. Whatʼs next? Video Games (again)? Transformers because they have guns? He-man and She-Ra because they dress to scandalously? G.I. Joe figures because theyʼre too violent? The Road Runner because heʼs so mean to Wile E. Coyote? Truth be told, the Breaking Bad figures are rather bland. I mean, I canʼt imagine a child going out of their way to even want one, Iʼm and adult collector and Iʼm donʼt see the appeal. But I do see the larger issue at hand. I get that a couple of meth cookers isnʼt ideal for kids. But if youʼre a good parent, your kid isnʼt watching Breaking Bad, recognizing the characters, and probably doesnʼt care about the toys.
This is a time where adult collectors of anything considered outside of the box, like video games, action figures, comic books, anything sci fi, we need to band together. Sign Daniel Picketʼs petition.
In the spirit of compromise… Want to put the adult collectable figures on a higher shelf? Different aisle? Glass case? Okay, fine, (I think theyʼre in a different aisle anyway). But to pull them completely isnʼt the answer. This issue isnʼt going away, itʼs actually growing. Itʼs been noticed by: TIME , Fortune, and CNN.
And just about every news outlet there is. Now is the time to speak up, now is the time to sign and be heard. Even if Breaking Bad figures arenʼt your thing, arenʼt we all brothers and sisters in this big Comic Con-Verse? An attack on one is an attack on all. Just remember, your hobby might be the next target.
Jayson Zachery – Resides in San Diego, California and proudly collects action figures, advocates animal rights, worsk in healthcare, and happily enjoys the community of Geekdom.