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It’s no secret that the this country’s economic infrastructure is built off of the labor of enslaved Africans. It’s a model we have never deviated from entirely. And now, even in 2020, Black people find that their bodies, ideas, and even their likeness have been used to profit large corporations, mostly run by White people, without acknowledge or compensation being given to the Black creatives.

Artist Amina Mucciolo was the most recent victim of this particular type of theft when the toy company LOL Surprise, used her likeness as inspiration for one of their newly launched “Rainbow Raver” doll.

On both Instagram and Twitter, Mucciolo, detailed her complaint and the evidence to support that the doll was fashioned after her.

Founder of the company, Isaac Larian, founder of MGA Entertainment, the world’s largest privately-owned toy company, hopped on Twitter in response to Mucciolo’s claims. And his response was quite nasty.

He tweeted: “You are #Disgrace to black people and the #BLM cause. #Liar and #Coward.”

Not exactly how a founder should conduct themselves on social media.

But Mucciolo didn’t just pull this accusation out of her behind. She had proof that the MGA company was well aware of her work and her existence.

After MGA tried to report her social media posts claiming that she violated copyright laws, Instagram removed Mucciolo’s posts.

But the image of the doll was published under fair use. And a few days ago, Mucciolo posted again, detailing evidence to support that claim that MGA Entertainment and LOL Surprise used her image and identity without permission or compensation.

She wrote:

  1. I wore my hair like this and shared the photos on social media from Nov 2018 to Feb 2019.
  2. In April 2019, LOL Surprise reached out to me and hired me to be a guest on their YouTube channel for a kids interior design show.
  3. Then in July of 2019 they released the Rainbow Raver doll as a part of their “Hair Goals” collection and it looks exactly like me.

Mucciolo stated what we all know to be true, “Having huge corporations make money off my ideas and identity, while I struggle financially as a Black freelance artist and content creator, has been both infuriating and devastating, to say the least.

LOL Surprise responded to Mucciolo’s accusations with a statement and a timeline of their production schedule in the release of the Rainbow Raver doll.

“We’ve seen the allegations and take this seriously. We apologize for the delay but felt it was important to review the timeline and facts internally. Rainbow Raver was designed by one of our talented black creators who confirmed the doll was not based on Amina Mucciolo. While we understand the similarities, we respectfully ask you to take a moment as we share our design timeline.⠀

We have tried to contact Studio Mucci to share our chronological production timeline with her.⠀

Summer 2018 – Rainbow Raver developed. ⠀

September 2018 – Rainbow Raver confirmed for production.⠀

November 2018 – Ms. Mucciolo posted on IG.⠀

April 2019 – Ms. Mucciolo participates in LOL Surprise video.* ⠀

May 2019 – LOL Surprise video goes live online.* ⠀

June 2019 – Rainbow Raver launched at retail.⠀

June 2020 – Ms. Mucciolo shares post on IG.⠀

Our colorful and creative team is inspired by trends in pop culture. Rainbow Raver was designed after music festival fashions. We deeply respect the artistic and creative community and would not take from a creator in the way suggested. MGA works tirelessly to protect our own intellectual property against that behavior.⠀

We will continue to always be honest and open with our community.”

In addition to the founder’s nasty words, LOL Surprise unfollowed Mucciolo.

Mucciolo wrote, “This behavior alone is obviously predatory and reprehensible, but the fact that they had the nerve to make a lazy post claiming to care about injustices done to Black people proves that they are also liars. This sort of thing happens to Black creatives more than you could possible imagine and WE ARE TIRED!”

Mucciolo said that MGA Entertainment and LOL Surprise can make this right by paying her for what they stole.

If you’re interested in supporting Mucciolo’s art, you can do so by visiting her shop where you can purchase her art.

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