|What remains of one young fan’s letter of admiration to the company that owns MLP.
There is a cruel irony in the fact that the very kind of heartless, uncaring cynical world many of us came to pony to escape is sometimes best personified in the actions and behavior of its own managing company, Hasbro.
Whether they’re cease-and-desisting a project you love or ruthlessly defending their trademark against fans caught in the crossfire, you can rest assured that the people involved will go home without an ounce of guilt, knowing they were “just following procedure”.
Today’s story is more of the same, but with a different victim. We stumbled upon this post on the /r/mylittlepony sub-reddit, titled “Hasbro destroyed my 10 year old daughter’s letter.” The title speaks for itself, but in this post we’ll explore what happened, the impact it had, and what we can do to help.
Here’s the full post from Reddit:
My daughter, who is a huge MLP fan, sent a letter to Hasbro a few weeks ago. It was a pretty standard letter from a ten year old, telling them how much she loved MLP, who was her favorite pony, etc. She included a suggestion for Trixie (take her off the show, no one likes her) Derpy (give her more screen time) and she pointed out that Rarity’s horn was pink for the first season. She included her best Equestria Girl drawing, cut out and glued to the letter.
She got a response today. Rachelle Little, Hasbro’s director of Business and Legal Affairs told her they don’t accept “unsolicited submissions” and “that no one at Hasbro has read or will read any material that you send” and “the letter you sent has been destroyed”.
I’m thinking this is a little over the top, my daughter’s feeling were definitely hurt. They shredded her drawing of Rainbow Dash, and then sent her a letter telling they shredded it.
Is this really how Hasbro responds to fans’ letters?
I was going to post a link to the letter, but it says “no pics Thursday” and I didn’t want to break any rules of the sub. I can post a link to it on imgur it if that is OK.
To summarize, the poster’s 10-year-old daughter sent a harmless drawing to Hasbro expressing her love for MLP to the company, who then opened it, forwarded it to legal as an “unsolicited submission”, then shredded it, then mailed the girl back a letter saying they shredded it.
Here is the letter from Hasbro’s legal department in full:
|“Also, your puppy strayed onto our front lawn, so we shredded that, too.”
So, the first and most obvious question here is, “How the hell did this happen?”
It’s simple, really: large companies have very cold, often unforgiving blanket policies for handling any kind of non-business correspondence sent to them. The purpose of this is to make sure their asses are thoroughly and completely covered in the event that someone sends them an idea that later coincidentally makes it into a show episode or toy somewhere.
We call this kind of response “Zero Tolerance”. You may recognize it as the same boneheaded policy that leads schools to see a bully punch a kid completely unprovoked, and then suspend both kids for fighting. Zero tolerance, in the real world, almost always means “zero room for common sense discretion”, and is meant to make up for the predictable variances in common sense that any big organization would inevitably have. This is no exception.
The problem here is that Hasbro is a toy company. They don’t always deal with litigious grown men who send them letters only planning to sue them later. Sometimes they deal with little girls, their actual target demographic, just wanting to write them a friendly letter saying how much they love the show. Thanks to their “zero tolerance” policy, though, even this gets the same brutal legal response.
The impact, of course, is that a little girl has her spirit crushed just a little, as she’s reminded that the show she loves is little more than just a marketing vehicle for the large, faceless corporation selling its products. No doubt, this is a lesson she’ll learn countless times in her life, but I think that 10 is a little too young to start getting cynical about the cruel business realities of modern society.
Now, how do we fix it?
Well, we can’t fix Hasbro. No amount of bad press will make them admit that their “standard procedure” is perhaps in need of a little adjustment. The people who implemented this policy are so separated from the everyday impacts it has, that they’ll likely never even notice it.
What we can do are two things:
Find the right place to send fanmail: There are plenty of places one can send a letter of appreciation to the team behind MLP, right? Honestly, we don’t know. We’ve never tried actually mailing them a letter.
As a group, though, I think this is something we can figure out. The team at HN will be looking into what the appropriate venue is for fan mail, one that will receive the letters and put them to good use instead of shredding them and sending legal notices back. We will update this page accordingly if we find anything, and we’ll make sure the other community sites know, just in case anyone goes looking for it.
Show our support where Hasbro won’t: Hasbro’s legal department may not have much in the way of nice things to say to this little girl, but that doesn’t mean that she needs to walk away with her spirit crushed. At the very least, I think we as fans can put together a show of support from us as a community, to show that yes, someone out there appreciates that you like the same show we do, and we want you to be rewarded for expressing that, not punished.
We’re contacting the author of the Reddit post as we speak to ask them for more information about this situation, and the best way for us to show our support as a community. We’ll keep you updated on that as well.
A lot of us in the community have spent enough time on the planet to develop a thick candy-coated shell of cynicism around our hearts. We’re not surprised by this at all.
Still, though, I think it’s necessary to call at least a little attention to things like this, because I don’t think some kid deserves this shit.