The Mattel toy company said it missed the mark in introducing an Asian Barbie doll in its new inclusive Olympics line.
After having recently reignited promotion for Olympic Barbie dolls it released earlier this year, the company got online backlash that its lineup didn’t include a Barbie who appeared to be Asian.
“Our intention to represent the Asian community with the Skateboarder doll fell short and we fully receive and recognize the feedback,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
The company said its skateboarding doll was meant to represent the Asian American community, but some Twitter users have said that they felt the Barbie doesn’t look Asian.
Each of the five dolls in the collection reflects the five new sports that had been added to the Olympics — softball, sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing.
The company said in a news release last year that the Barbie collaboration with the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 organizers would emphasize “inclusivity and innovation.”
A number of other people highlighted the achievements of Asian female Olympians this year, including Hmong American gymnast Suni Lee, who was the first Asian American to win gold in the gymnastics individual all-around, and Filipina American fencer Lee Kiefer, who was the first Asian American woman to win a fencing gold in general.
Mattel has created Barbies to honor Asian athletes before. A doll depicting snowboarder Chloe Kim, who won the gold medal in snowboarding at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, was released that year. And weeks before the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, Mattel released a doll modeled after tennis player Naomi Osaka.
“Moving forward, we will work to find more ways to champion all representation and celebrate the amazing achievements of all Olympic athletes, who are showing us that anything is possible,” a Mattel spokesperson said.