The latest Happy Meal toy offering may have you saying “WTF” — literally.
McDonald’s launched its Minions Happy Meal in North America on July 3, but some customers are saying that the talking toy, which says prerecorded phrases when tapped, can be heard saying some foul language.
A McDonald’s spokesperson denied the claim that the toys swear, telling MarketWatch The Minion Caveman Happy Meal toy includes 3 sounds: ‘para la bukay,’ ‘hahaha,’ and ‘eh eh.’
“We’re aware of a very small number of customers who have been in touch regarding this toy, and we regret any confusion or offense to those who may have misinterpreted its sounds,” a McDonald’s spokesperson said. “The allegation that this toy is saying anything offensive or profane is not true.”
McDonald’s says they have no plans to pull the toy.
Some McDonald’s customers are hearing the phrase commonly shortened to “WTF” instead of the toymaker’s intended “hahaha.” But you can probably chalk it up to a case of Mondegreen, a psychological occurrence in which people mishear a phrase as a result of near-homophony.
And since human beings interpret their environment based on experience, it seems unlikely that many toddlers receiving the toy will actually hear the words “WTF.” It’s similar to the phenomenon in which fans of Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space” swore they heard her singing “All the lonely Starbucks lovers” rather than “Got a long list of ex-lovers.”
Minions, which speak a made-up language called Minionese, are the lovable yellow stars of the Universal Studio film “Minions,” which opens this weekend. But while Universal Studios, owned by Comcast Corp.
has had a record breaking year so far, McDonald’s
McDonald’s reported weak first-quarter earnings as profit fell to $811.5 million , or 84 cents a share, from $1.2 billion, or $1.21 a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales fell 2.6% in its first quarter, as new promotions and products couldn’t offset competitive pressure.
McDonald’s in May announced a turnaround plan to its restaurant business that would focus on operational changes, such as a change in leadership and refranchising plans, but that didn’t mention food.
And the swearing minion debacle, silly as it might seem, is just the latest example of bad press for the fast-food company, which has taken a beating as it tries to adapt to changing consumer tastes and win back franchises, who say their relationship with corporate is at its lowest point in 11 years. Meanwhile, employees are complaining about low wages and health and safety issues.
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