Thursday, October 26, 2006

Potty mouthed toy

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. -- A North Carolina father wants Toys "R" Us to take a popular police toy set off the shelves. He said the toy given to his 6-year-old son utters a curse word. Toys "R" Us has gotten two complaints and had the chip re-recorded.

The toy is a police officer set called "Elite Operations Role Play Set: Police," that includes a nightstick and a utility belt. A recorded message that includes what sounds like a curse word plays when the nightstick is removed from the belt.

Philip Morton, 33, said he returned the toy to the toy store where he bought it and played it for store managers. He said they gave him a new set with a recording that didn't include the obscenity.

He kept the original set and played the recorded message, including the apparent curse word, over the phone for Associated Press reporters.

"We shelter our kids," said Morton. "We're very protective about everything they watch on TV and discourage cussing around our kids. Our TVs are on the Disney Channel 97 percent of the time."

Morton told The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C., that when he heard his son, Jonathan, saying an obscene word to friends after his birthday party, he was incensed. Morton said his son learned the word -- a term for sexual intercourse -- from his toy.

"He asked me if I wanted him to arrest me and I said no, (then) he asked me if I wanted to be cuffed and I said (maybe), and then he said, '(expletive) don’t make me use my nightstick,'" Morton told the paper. "Without even thinking I said, 'What did you say?’ So he said it again. To some people that might have been funny to hear a child say that, but I got very, very mad."

He said he's been apologizing to people for his son's cursing. "I've had to explain to parents why my son is saying the f-word; it's horrible," Morton said. “It's really a cute little toy; but God forbid, it's not what I want my kid hearing."

A store spokeswoman said the problem may be a faulty chip.

Jerry Gibson of TekNek Toys International of Southlake, Texas, said Morton hasn't made the recording available, but that the recorded voice is supposed to say "stop."

"I understand they can’t check every toy on the shelf," Morton said. "But if one doesn’t say it and one does, maybe someone is playing a game and got in a hurry and forgot about it. Personally, I think they should be held liable."

TekNek Toys denied claims that the toy has a potty mouth. Michelle Perea, the products and marketing manager for TekNek, told the paper that the recorded voice actually does say “stop.”

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