Watch CBS News

A new "EcoWarrior" Barbie, supposedly from Mattel, drew headlines. It was a hoax.

The history of Barbie
The history of Barbie 05:35

In wake of the hit "Barbie" movie, the announcement of an "EcoWarrior" Barbie doll drew the attention of media organizations and consumers, including an apparent pledge from toymaker Mattel to stop using plastic by 2030.

news release, published Tuesday on a website that looked remarkably similar to Mattel's corporate page, even had CEO Ynon Kreiz seemingly drawing the line at producing more plastic dolls: "We have made more than a billion plastic Barbies, and enough is enough."

The EcoWarrior Barbie was promoted by Daryl Hannah, who is known for her ecological advocacy, with the actor appearing in a YouTube video about the problem of abandoned Barbies in landfills. She noted that the dolls add to the "plastic waste" on the planet. 

Instead, she proclaimed, Barbies would soon be made from mushrooms, kelp, hemp and other natural products. The EcoWarrior line was designed to honor ecological activists such as Greta Thunberg, Julia Butterfly Hill, Phoebe Plummer and Nemonte Nenquimo, the statement claimed. Hannah also declared that the new Barbie would "return to the earth, just like all living things," instead of "persisting forever as a poison Barbie."

Some press outlets ran with the story, including People magazine and the Washington Times. But it turned out that the new doll, CEO quotes and plastic-free pledge were an elaborate hoax designed by the "Barbie Liberation Organization," which also created a faux website that copied Mattel's logo and design almost perfectly. 

An activist group called the Barbie Liberation Front issued an elaborate hoax on Tuesday, issuing fake press releases that appeared to be from Barbie maker Mattel. The false statements claimed the toymaker was producing an "EcoWarrior" Barbie made from biodegradable materials, and that it would go plastic-free by 2030.  Barbie Liberation Front

In a twist, the hoaxers even denounced their own hoax, issuing another fake statement — also supposedly from Mattel — that declared the EcoWarrior Barbie as "tasteless hoax."

The actual Mattel said that the entire thing was fake. "Nothing to do with Mattel," the company said in an email to CBS News. 

The Washington Times issued a correction, noting that it was the victim of "an elaborate media hoax." Both the Washington Times and People removed their articles about the doll from their websites.

The Barbie Liberation Front said its mission is to "challenge malign societal norms and spark conversations that resonate beyond the ordinary." It added, "Creativity is our weapon of choice."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.