A New 'EcoWarrior' Barbie Is Making Headlines. But It Turns Out It Was All a Hoax. The fake Barbie was perpetrated by climate change activists using a phony website and press release — and it worked.

By Sam Silverman

Key Takeaways

  • What appeared to be a new release for an eco-friendly Barbie proved to be a statement from climate change activists.
  • Several news outlets had to retract their coverage of the phony story.

The new "EcoWarrior" Barbie is fake news.

Climate change activists took advantage of the Barbie craze and launched an elaborate hoax promoting a new "EcoWarrior" Barbie using a phony website and realistic Mattel signage.

A faux news release published on Tuesday to a fake website that looks eerily similar to Mattel's official domain claimed Mattel plans to stop using plastic by 2030 with activist and actress Daryl Hannah featured as the ambassador for Mattel's "sustainability mission."

To pioneer the alleged movement, the release claimed Mattel was launching a line of "MyCelia EcoWarrior Barbies" inspired by female environmental activists including Hannah herself, Greta Thunberg, Julia Butterfly Hill, Phoebe Plummer, and Nemonte Nenquimo.

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The phony release also included a fake quote from Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz reading: "We have made more than a billion plastic Barbies, and enough is enough."

The activists took their ruse one step further with a promotional video of Hannah announcing the new campaign, stating, "Barbie and over one billion of her friends have been abandoned in our landfills and waterways where they will live on forever."

Hannah appears to be involved in the hoax, but there has not been confirmation of her affiliation with the activist group.

With its legitimate appearance, several news outlets picked up the campaign, including People and The Washington Times. The activists continued their charade and even issued a statement on behalf of Mattel denouncing their hoax.

In a statement to CBS News, a representative from the real Mattel said there was no legitimacy to the release, writing that the faux campaign had "nothing to do with Mattel."

The "Barbie Liberation Organization," which defines itself as an "underground network of creative activists," was behind the whole ruse.

Igor Vasso (AKA Mike Bonanno), a political activist of the Yes Men, which is a group of activists that use performance art to raise awareness, took responsibility for the hoax in an interview with Yahoo.

The Barbie Liberation Organization is an offshoot of the Yes Men.

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"Barbie is still literally made out of oil by sweatshop workers. … But we're caught up in identity politics and losing track of what's happening, which is the planet is being destroyed right in front of us," he told the outlet.

"To say the doll is feminist now when the toy is contaminating the environment that the future of all humanity and all life depends on is kind of a colossal and bizarre joke," he added.

Both the Washington Times and People have since removed their coverage.

Sam Silverman

Entrepreneur Staff

Content Strategy Editor

Sam Silverman is a content strategy editor at Entrepreneur Media. She specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), and her work can be found in The US Sun, Nicki Swift, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style and Health. She writes for our news team with a focus on investigating scandals. Her coverage and expertise span from business news, entrepreneurship, technology, and true crime, to the latest in entertainment and TV news. Sam is a graduate of Lehigh University and currently resides in NYC. 

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