Mattel Slams Daryl Hannah for Bizarre Barbie "Hoax"

The actor made a misleading "announcement" on the company's behalf in a new video.

The Barbie movie has officially taken over pop culture, and offered businesses and influencers many ways to capitalize on its success. (Chances are, you've been seeing a lot more pink in your feed the past few weeks.) But one star's attempt to ride the Barbie wave was actually denounced by the doll's toy company, Mattel. Actor Daryl Hannah shared a video on social media that included an untrue claim about the future production of Barbie dolls. The Splash star's effort was so successful that publications actually reported on the news—that is, before Mattel issued a statement calling Hannah's campaign "a hoax." Read on to find out more.

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Hannah posted a video about Barbies and plastic waste.

On Aug. 1, Hannah shared a video on social media titled "Plastic Free with Daryl Hannah." In the video, she talks about how many Barbies end up in landfills and in the water system and says that she has an announcement from Mattel.

"I am proud to announce that by 2030 all Mattel toys will be plastic-free starting with the iconic Barbie doll," the 62-year-old says. "In just a few years, Barbie will be made with entirely compostable materials. Mattel will also support a federal ban on all plastics in kids toys and on single-use plastics."

Hannah's video also includes a "plan" for the new plastic-free Barbies. A diagram shows alternative materials that could be used to make the dolls, including nettle and hemp for fabric and mycelium hide and kelp-based resin for Barbie's hair and body.

The video also states that a line of Barbies inspired by important environmentalists will be released. The five Barbies shown are based on activists Phoebe Plummer, Julia Butterfly Hill, Greta Thunberg, and Nemonte Nenquimo, as well as Hannah herself.

The actor has long been an outspoken environmentalist. In 2012, she was arrested while protesting an oil pipeline in Texas.

The "Eco Warrior Barbie" line also got an "official" website.

The fake Eco Warrior Barbies in the hoax video
MyCelia Barbie / YouTube

In addition to the video starring Hannah, a faux Mattel webpage was created with the title "New Mattel Decomposable Barbie Line Celebrates the End of Plastic and Mourns the Dead." The site includes a fake statement said to be from the Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer at Mattel.

"We've always wanted people to see themselves in Barbie," it reads. "But we never intended for her to enter our bloodstreams as microplastic, literally becoming a part of us forever. It sounds nice, but it's actually not very good for you."

The site also features another video introducing the Eco Warrior Barbie line and showing them attempting to shut down oil pipelines and prevent deforestation. Both videos are listed as "PARODY" in their YouTube descriptions. Hannah published two other clips on her Instagram page of activists speaking out.

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Some publications reported on Mattel's "announcement."

A Daryl Hannah Barbie in the hoax video
MyCelia Barbie / YouTube

The fake Barbie news was picked up by some outlets who believed it to be a real announcement from Mattel. As reported by The New York Times, the news was published by PeopleThe Washington Times, and MarketWatch, all of which have since removed their articles.

Additionally, NYT reports that the campaign was launched by the Barbie Liberation Organization, which first began targeting Barbie dolls in 1993. Activist Mike Bonanno told the newspaper that the campaign wasn't meant to spread disinformation, and that the plan was to reveal that it had been created by activists.

"This is actually the type of action that opposes misinformation and disinformation," Bonanno said. "What we're fighting against is half a century of misinformation from the plastics industry and from fossil fuel companies and interests that are trying to convince people that recycling is a viable solution to the plastic waste problem."

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Mattel called out the "hoax."

Kids playing with Eco Warrior Barbie in the hoax video
MyCelia Barbie / YouTube

In a statement to the New York Post, a spokesperson for Mattel confirmed that the company is not behind the campaign. "This is a hoax and has nothing to do with Mattel or any of its products," the statement reads.

As reported by NYT, Mattel has announced some changes regarding its use of plastic, but they are not as extreme as what Hannah says in the video.

Instead, the company announced last year that it would reduce plastic packaging by 25 percent by the year 2030. The company also stated a goal to "achieve 100 percent recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic materials in products and packaging by 2030 with several new products made from more sustainable materials." This initiative includes "Barbie Loves the Ocean, its first fashion doll line made from recycled ocean-bound plastic" as well as new toys from other Mattel brands.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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