[This transcript of the Barbie Liberation Organization's video news release was provided to RTMark by the B.L.O. and is reprinted here unchanged.]
The following videotape documents the BARBIE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION "OPERATION NEWSPEAK".
This is the NBC Nightly News with Tom Browkaw.... sitting in tonight, Brian Williams
Good evening everyone, Tom has the night off... In 1992 the Mattel Corporation released Teen Talk Barbie, an electronic talking version of their top-selling doll. The company came under fire from educators, however, when it was discovered that one of the ophrases the doll said was "Math is hard!" Opponents of the new doll complained that the doll gave a bad message to girls, and they publicly condemned the new toy.
JOANNE OPPENHEIM (TOY EXPERT)
My first reaction was to laugh... i did see the humor in it. But I very quickly drew back from it,
Joanne Oppenheim has been chronicling toy trends for almost 10 years
It is sort of a Terrorist act directed against children and that did not seem appropriate... it seemed like a cheap shot
While the experts like OPPENHEIM publicly protested Mattel’s alleged "terrorism against children" an undercover group was meeting to plan a counter-terrorist attack on Mattel and fellow toy-maker Hasbro, the company responsible for the GI Joe doll. Their plans came to fruition at the end of 1993. John James, with CNN, reporting
A secret society called the BLO is single-handedly trying to change the image of the Barbie Doll. Now, BLO stands for the Barbie Liberation Organization and its members claim they have switched the voice boxes on 3000 Barbie’s and gi Joes this holiday SEASON. as a result, some kids may have Barbies that say "dead men tell no lies" and GI Joes that ask, 'Want to go shopping?" The BLO says the dolls reinforce gender-stereotypes. Hasbro, the company that makes the GI Joes, calls the BLO's tactics 'ridiculous" Barbie's maker Mattel says its received no complaints at all.
You are watching THE NEWS. Tonight’s program: Meteorologist Mary Sample explains where the BLO sent their tampered dolls. DR Erickson shows you how to perform the surgery yourself. Joel Domhoff gives the Blow by blow report of the media competition and, caught in the act, the BLO( uncovered by Jean Jacquexzs J'attaques. Plus, excerpts form the BLO's press release.
I'm teen talk barbie, the spokesdoll for the B-L-O. We're an international group of childrens' toys that are revolting against the companies that made us...
Everything about Barbie is New! You've got something special, always fun, exciting and new, all new talking barbie, a special barbie, just for you, three new expressions, really neat, she's carefree elegant and shes sweet, wow, you've got somthing special. Hey barbie, thanks to you there's nothing we girls cant do cause you've got somthing special! Barbie!
Where exactly did the BLO place their altered dolls? To answer this question go to meteorologist Mary Sample.
Here we have some dolls in Boston, new York, Baltimore, Washington DA and a few sprinkling in Sarasota Florida. Further west, several BLO dolls were returned to store shelves in Buffalo new York, oxford Mississippi, and Austin Texas. Finally, on the west coast, several dolls were seen from Seattle all the way down to San Diego. Carried by the jet stream another cluster of dolls flew across the continent from the BLO’s San Diego hospital and hit new York stores just in time for Christmas. For tomorrow we expect more weather. this is meteorologist Mary sample. goodnight.
Since we wanted to find out how the BNLO performed the alleged surgery, we asked our science correspondent, DR Ercickson of the Johns Hopkins trans-genderization laboratory to find out. Doctor?
Yes, Joe, from the evidence I have determined that the BLO performed a simple switch of the electronic on the two talking toys. In fact, if you were to perform such an operation yourself at home, it would be easy. This is what you would need. One teen talk barbie. One talking GI Joe. Two sharp screwdrivers or woodworking tools. A hacksaw, a soldering iron, soldier, light electrical wire, epoxy, wire cutters , a drill and a suitable bit, and some hot glue. To open Barbie, insert a screwdriver firmly into the base of the spine. Snap the screwdriver down towards the buttocks. Now grab both sides of the torso and split it in torso with a firm yank. Remove the head, arms, and legs. Pull out the circuit board. Break off the tab holding the speaker in place, and remove it. Using your saw, sever the battery contacts from the rest of the circuit board. Put the battery contacts back into your doll. To open GI Joe, take out the batteries and pop off his head. Make an incision across the abdomen from seam to seam, but be careful not to cut too deeply, because there are wires underneath. Insert two screwdrivers where the arms meet the torso and pry vigorously, like this. You may need to make other incisions here and there as well. Once he is split, pry out his circuit boards and switch. Locate the red and black power wires, and remove them from the switch using your soledering iron. Before you forget where they go. Soldier similar replacement wires onto the circuit board. Also remove the switch wires a6t this time. Now pick up Barbie’s circuit board and remove her switch. Soldier Joe's contacts to the contacts on your Barbie circuit board. Now give them each other’s switches as well. Take Barbie’s circuit board AND Put the whole thing into Joe, complete with speaker. Soldier the power wires onto the circuit board. You can use some hot glue to ANCHOR it all in place. To fit Jose circuitry into Barbie, you will need to modify the circuit board. De-solder and remove this capacitor and rsoldier them on these contacts further down the board. Next, cut off the now unnecessary portions of the circuit board like this. Now soldier the power wires of the circuitry to Barbie’s battery contacts and put the whole thing into place. Next, mount Barbie’s switch on a piece of non-conductive scrap circuit board which you have measures and cut to fit into the torso. Carefully glue the circuitboard onto barbie's back-posts so that the switch works. Now you are ready to glue them together, but first test them with their batteries to make sure that they work. Before you apply glue, make sure the two sides fit together well. Now mix up your epoxy and apply it to points of contact on the dolls torsos'. Put them together in the reverse order that you took them apart, and then clamp their bodies together while they dry. When you are done, take the dolls out of their clamps, and there you have it, your very own set of surgically corrected dolls.
Dead men tell no tales
You look terrific!
What are you going to do with your new dolls?
Well Joe, I still want to empirically test the BLO's claims about reverse shoplifting.
You plan to place your dolls back in the store?
Hmm. Thank you. That was doctor Erickson, our science expert. When we come back: the valley of the dolls: GI Joe, Barbie, and their Identity Crisis
GI Joe Commercial
GI Joe is there! GI Joe is the code name for America’s daring special mission force. Its purpose, to defend human freedom against cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world. GI JOE! The greatest American hero, GI Joe is there, The Greatest American Hero, GI Joe is there, fighting for freedom, wherever there's trouble over land an sea and air, GI JOE..... etc...
We return now to the story of the Barbie liberation organization. Ed Dague and the news team at our affiliate in Albany, NY had the story first.
The Barbie liberation organization is declaring victory tonight in their skirmish with the toymakers... Phil Baily, who is live in our newsroom, first reported on Christmas eve about the group’s efforts to sabotage Barbie dolls and GI joes... phil..
Ed- on Christmas morning the mission of the BLO was carried out by these six inch soldiers and a division of Barbie dolls.
The image of the American soldier, decisive, virile, macho... "wanna go shopping?" What? Gi joe wants to shopping? and thats not all... "I love school dont you? Lets sing with the Band Tonight!"
It was real funny... cause he looks like 'Come on, fight me fight me' except he says ' I love school dont you.... Lets sing with the band tonight... the beach is the place for summer"
First, seven year old zak zellin thought this doll was a factory mistake. But it was soon discovered that this GI joe was in fact ambushed, by the Barbie liberation organization.
obviously opened it and it wasn’t a factory mistake...
The underground operators left a surgically changed doll, and a phone number...
you have reached the Barbie liberation organization. We are dedicated to the humanization of children’s' toys.
Its believed the stealth members of the BLO bought hundreds of GI Jose and Barbies changed their voice boxes, and then put them back on toy shelves around the country. This handout tape was provided to news organizations
Hi, I'm teen talk Barbie, the spokesdoll for the BLO. That stands for the Barbie liberation Organization. We're an international group of children's toys that are revolting against the companies that made us. We turned against our creators because they use us to brainwash kids. They build us in a way that perpetuates gender-based stereotypes. These stereotypes have a negative effect on children’s development. To correct this problem, we have set up our own hospitals where we are carrying out corrective surgery on ourselves. Before surgery, me and GI Joe were forced to say things we didn’t want to. Now we say things like this! 'Dead Men tell no tales Ha Ha Ha!' 'Troops, attack!' 'No escape for the guilty!' Vengeance ids mine' I donate my voice to a GI joe, because they wanna be free too. They dont wanna say all that violent war stuff. Now he says what I USED TO SAY! " Wanna go shopping? Lets Sing with the band tonight!" After we finssh our corrective surgery we climb back in our boxes and go off to the store, just in time for Christmas. BY Now! I have to get in to my box and off to the store.
Zack thinks this doll is definitely four F, so he plays with it differently:
Like a detective, because, it like in murder she wrote, he's in disguise.
Its surprising, AND, well, men can go shopping!
He has one friend, who came over and actually said, 'he talks like a girl - is he into weird stuff"
we're gonna get a Barbie doll and a clean house holding cockroach poison saying 'dead man tell no lies'
The politically correct way to describe this GI Joe is that he's verbally challenged. Gina Lew, News 8
Are we allowed to make editorial comments on this? Go ahead. I think is great, its funny. It breaks down the barriers. It sure does! And you know, men can go shopping! Yeah, especially around Christmas time if you have kids, you better believe it! Yeah- I’m not sure barbies or women would want to say lets shoot em up or anything...who know whats next. I like it!
Me too...That was Hal Clement with Gina Lew in san Diego.
You could call them GI Jane and The Bobby doll. What’s behind these gender bender barbies?
Tonight, on the Simpsons:
Doll: "Lets buy makeup so the boys will like us!"
Lisa: Ugh- dont you people see anything wrong with what Malibu Stacey says?
Girl: Theres something wrong with what my Stacey says!"
Doll: My spidery sense is tingling! Anyone call for a web-slinger?
Lisa: No Celeste, I mean the things she says are sexist!
Girls: Lisa said a dirty Word!
Voice: Catch another episode, next!
In sports, there was a battle as the media giants faced off against each other and the BLO took on the Mattel and Hasbro all-stars. Joel Doimhoff has the report.
Thanks Brian! We'll begin with a look at the heated media battle surrounding the Barbie liberation organization. On the 24th, Albany New Yorks NBC affiliate WNYT recognizing the BLOs game plan, caught a long touchdown when it received the BLOS press release. Then, by outrunning and out-hustling their opponent, they took it in for the score by becoming the first station to tackle the blo issue from all sides. Three days later, KNSD, the NBC affiliate in San Diego, took a pitch from the blo AND A SAN DIEGO FAMILY THAT HAD RECEIVED AN ALTERED DOLL. KNSD fans celebrated when the station took that bitch deep over the wall in center field by running a local story on the BLO. Thew next day, CBS and ABC, staring in the face of a huge deficit and little time remaining, began to mount a furious comeback by utilizing a full-court press. But it was too little too late. CBS and ABC affiliates around the country began running local stories on the BLO. But it was too little too late. NBC, clearly the aggressor from the start, had dominated the game, throwing down numerous monstrous slam-dunks in their opponent’s face. On the 29th of December, NBC hit the clinching jump-shot by becoming the fist major network to make the BLO story a national one... back to you Brian!
They call themselves the Barbie Liberation Organization. Their mission: to free Barbie and he very plastic male counterpart GI Joe from sexual stereotypes by reversing their roles by reversing their voices. NBC's Irving R Levine.
Irving R Levine
Talking Barbie, one of America’s most popular dolls.
Gung ho, direct fire at that cobra squad!
But Barbie you sound like GI Joe...
Let’s make plans for the weekend!
And GI Joe with Barb's Voice? Confused? So was ten-year-old Jessica Pasco of Albany new York. It wasn’t what Jessica’s mom had in mind when Barbie started saying 'fire fire fire!
I thought she was gonna say things like 'lets go shopping, or lets go to the mall
i heard about it on the news... and then it started making all these weird sounds!
Were you surprised?
yeah, but i thought it was hilarious, so i started laughing
the explanation came in videotapes mailed to TV stations. a group calling itself the Barbie liberation organization claimed responsibility for swapping barbies voice with GI joes and vice versa. The group of concerned parents is protesting what it calls sexism and gender based stereotypes in childrens toys
We’re an international group of children’s toys that ARE REVOLTING Against the companies that made us
In press releases the group claims to have gotten three hundred altered Barbies and GI Jose on store shelves in 43 states. Seven-year-old Zachariah Zellin's GI Joe was bought in a San Diego store. The manufacturers of GI Joe are trying to laugh off the tampering with their big money maker
I'm sure there are allot of girls who play with GI Jose and boys who will grab a Barbie from time to time...
He talks like a girl man...sounds like he’s really into that kind of stuff
Still one wonders, is nothing sacred? If protesters can tamper with the voices of children’s icons, what can be next? Irving r levine, NBC news, Washington...
Don't adjust your sets. Up next, Shopgivers Caught in the Act.
Here, heres what has to be the strangest story of the week, now this has made all the papers... it was on the news. It seems a number of barbie dolls around the country have been tampered with. Sombody has taken the Barbie dolls and substituted the voice box of the GI Joe doll...so Barbie sounds like GI Joe... and threes like 3 or 4 hundred of them out there. But rather than switch the toys Mattel said today that they just decided to market the Bea Arthur doll.
1-800-we saw it bumper
If you were planning to follow the doctor5s advice and reverse-shoplift this next piece should prove informative. Investigative reporter and former secret agent Jean Jacques J'attaque went undecover to find out the story behind the story.
JEAN JACQUES J'ATTAQUE
The BLO has remained cloaked in A VEIL OF SECRECY UNTIL NOW. Here, i captured two blo members as they shopped for dolls at FAO Schwartz in new York city. Afterwards, i followed them back to the blo hospital where i discovered surgeons performing the painstaking operations. After they were surgically corrected, they were carefully cataloged, repackaged, and sent to operatives around the country. you will now eye witness an actual incident of reverse shoplifting, or what the BLO calls, shopgiving! This may look like an ordinary tourist experiencing the big apple, but in reality than elaborate disguise hides a member of the infamous Barbie liberation organization. From a discreet distance I tailed him all over Manhattan ending up here at FAO Schwartz on Fifth Avenue. He walked into the store and headed straight for the Barbie section. Watch carefully now as the doll leaves his hand and is placed back on the shelf, a time bomb waiting for the unsuspecting customer. Now watch as two other BLO members brazenly replaces at least a dozen more dolls at another nearby store. Back at their underground headquarters they continued to ensure that their operation new-speak would become a media event. They prepared press releases which were sent to REPORTERs around the country. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Having learned the top-secret access code, I tapped in to the BLO's secret computer files and discovered the earth shattering truth: Ed Dague, Kris Kapostascy, Bary Wenger, Liz Laptop, Phil Bailey, Bob boner... they were all members of the Barbie liberation organization!
For all of us here at NBC news, Goodnight...