Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic"

Transformers News: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic"

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 2:38AM CST

Category: Toy News
Posted by: Seibertron   Views: 55,715

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Last week it was revealed that an upcoming Transformers product would bear the name "Spastic". As many of us learned shortly thereafter, the word "spastic" has different meanings depending on your regional location.

This past weekend, Seibertron.com contacted Hasbro to find out if they had an official statement regarding the use of this word as a Transformers product. Here is their official response that they sent earlier on Monday:

Hasbro wrote:Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and for the opportunity to respond. The TRANSFORMERS brand intended no offense by use of the name "SPASTIC" for one of its products which has not and will not be available via traditional retail channels in Europe, including the the UK. Thank you once again for notifying us about your concern. As a marketer of children’s products, input from parents, families and fans regarding their experiences with our brands is extremely important to us. Our goal is to have all families who enjoy our brands feel good about their purchases and experiences.


We are waiting a response from Hasbro to find out if the figure will retain the name "Spastic" in North America after finding out from the message above that the item will not be available in Europe. Stay tuned to Seibertron.com for additional information.

Image

The "controversy" over this name usage was covered in the "weird news" section of DailyRecord.co.uk. You can view the article by clicking here.

Here is some additional information about the regional differences of the word "spastic" from Wikipedia.org:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spastic

US usage of the word "spastic"
Wikipedia.org wrote:In American slang, the term "spaz" is largely inoffensive, and is generally understood as a casual word for clumsiness, sometimes associated with over excitement, excessive energy, or hyperactivity. Its usage has been documented as far back as the mid 1950s


UK usage of the word "spastic"
This medical term "spastic" became used to describe cerebral palsy. The Spastics Society, a UK charity for people with cerebral palsy, was founded in 1951.

However, the word began to be used as an insult and became a term of abuse used to imply stupidity or physical ineptness; one who is uncoordinated or incompetent, or a fool.[3] The mental connotation derived from a common misconception that those with any physical disability resulting in spasticity would necessarily also have a mental or developmental disability. It was often colloquially abbreviated to shorter forms such as "spaz".

Its derogatory use grew considerably in the 1980s.
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Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147004)
Posted by Dai_Ceefax on November 16th, 2010 @ 2:57am CST
So now we don't get it at all in the UK?
Just because Hasbro's research dept. dropped a bollock?

#-o

Good job Kapow Toys'll blatently ship some over...
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147005)
Posted by MINDVVIPE on November 16th, 2010 @ 2:59am CST
Uhh, i'm gonna have to agree with the first few comments on here. Spastic isn't that bad, even for the UK take, but even if it is, whoever called it in is a real tool. Give me a break, this is what people spend their time doing? Not to mention, what if the kid gets the toy and loves it. The next day kids are making fun of some other kid by calling him spastic (i guess, pretty unrealistic phrasing imo. but say they do), that kid who loves his spastic figure is gonna have less motivation to side with the other kids reasoning for hate. And all of you comparing 'spastic' to 'n*gger' and 'fag', .... sorry, that isn't a fair comparison at all, spastic is nowhere near any of those.

But all that aside, whoever called that in is a real tool

:CON:
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147006)
Posted by Seibertron on November 16th, 2010 @ 3:01am CST
MINDVVIPE wrote:But all that aside, whoever called that in is a real tool :CON:


What do you mean by "whoever called that in"?
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147007)
Posted by NOBODY LOVES WHEELIE on November 16th, 2010 @ 3:01am CST
Oh for the love of god using the word Spaz or spastic is just a term for clumsy...its not like the product is named Rapist and the Stunticons.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147008)
Posted by Seibertron on November 16th, 2010 @ 3:03am CST
NOBODY LOVES WHEELIE wrote:Oh for the love of god using the word Spaz or spastic is just a term for clumsy...its not like the product is named Rapist and the Stunticons.


In the US that's what the word means after it split from its original meanings back in the 1950s. In the 1980s, the word took on an offensive usage in the UK. Kind of like how "fag" means something different in the UK from the US.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147009)
Posted by MINDVVIPE on November 16th, 2010 @ 3:03am CST
Seibertron wrote:
MINDVVIPE wrote:But all that aside, whoever called that in is a real tool :CON:


What do you mean by "whoever called that in"?


Whoever brought Hasbro's attention to the name being insulting.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147010)
Posted by Seibertron on November 16th, 2010 @ 3:04am CST
NOBODY LOVES WHEELIE wrote:Oh for the love of god using the word Spaz or spastic is just a term for clumsy...its not like the product is named Rapist and the Stunticons.


In the US that's what the word means after it split from its original meanings back in the 1950s. In the 1980s, the word took on an offensive usage in the UK. Kind of like how "fag" means something different in the UK from the US.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147011)
Posted by Seibertron on November 16th, 2010 @ 3:05am CST
MINDVVIPE wrote:
Seibertron wrote:
MINDVVIPE wrote:But all that aside, whoever called that in is a real tool :CON:


What do you mean by "whoever called that in"?


Whoever brought Hasbro's attention to the name being insulting.


I contacted Hasbro to see if they had an official statement regarding this after seeing how strongly some UK fans in this topic felt, especially after it made it's way to a British newspaper/news website.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147013)
Posted by MINDVVIPE on November 16th, 2010 @ 3:11am CST
Seibertron wrote:
MINDVVIPE wrote:
Seibertron wrote:
MINDVVIPE wrote:But all that aside, whoever called that in is a real tool :CON:


What do you mean by "whoever called that in"?


Whoever brought Hasbro's attention to the name being insulting.


I contacted Hasbro to see if they had an official statement regarding this because I felt it was newsworthy due to how strongly some fans in this topic felt, especially after it made it's way to a British newspaper/news website.


Okay well, then it was a side effect of your search for information, your not a tool then.
And chances are if it was in british newspapers, its already been made aware to hasbro by the tools writing the newspaper articles.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147016)
Posted by Seibertron on November 16th, 2010 @ 3:25am CST
MINDVVIPE wrote:its already been made aware to hasbro by the tools writing the newspaper articles.


Probably not. People love to make news instead of going to the source to find out their thoughts on the matter. I decided to contact Hasbro first before we covered the article that was published last week. I felt that was more responsible than just reporting on DailyRecord.co.uk's article.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147017)
Posted by MINDVVIPE on November 16th, 2010 @ 3:27am CST
Seibertron wrote:
MINDVVIPE wrote:its already been made aware to hasbro by the tools writing the newspaper articles.


Probably not. People love to make news instead of going to the source to find out their thoughts on the matter. I decided to contact Hasbro first before we covered the article that was published last week. I felt that was more responsible than just reporting on DailyRecord.co.uk's article.


Yea fair enough, they probably wouldn't have known... but doesn't that show how little it would have mattered? maybe. My point, if any, was that the press just want to make any deal about anything. If they hadn't written those articles I doubt anyone would have cared, and if any did, probably not enough to do or say anything much about it.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147025)
Posted by MYoung23 on November 16th, 2010 @ 4:38am CST
As an African American I can tell that the N-word has always been a demeaning and insulting term. It was never neutral even though it was a corruption of the word Negro.

The fact that people here had to go to wikipedia and didn't know this is a damn shame.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147026)
Posted by Burn on November 16th, 2010 @ 4:50am CST
Kudos to Hasbro for addressing this particular "controversy", goes to show they do listen when they need to.

But is anyone suprised that this pack won't be available throughout Europe?
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147029)
Posted by PrimeGestalt on November 16th, 2010 @ 5:20am CST
Augh! I only just decide to rename him 'Cascade' in my fan-fiction, and Hasbro drops the 'US-only' bomb on me! Now I have to import for the first Stunticon set in decades!

Actually, I might import most of my Transformers sets anyway...particularly if I end up joining the Transformers Fan Club. My point is what's wrong with giving characters different names in different regions if it's used sparingly? Now it's going to shift from complaints about offense to his name to complaints about a lack of release worldwide. In fact, just this once I'll make one of the first complaints just to get the ball rolling: Hasbro, why won't you just change the name for Europe and Oceania so you can release this set worldwide? Some of us outside the US might a) actually want to collect all the Power Core Combiners sets (I'm not lying about that one, trust me ;) ); b) actually LIKE the Stunticons; c) actually be creating Power Core fiction to fill the void until there's actual canonical fiction (like what happened with Beast Wars); or d) actually have alternative names for the rest of the world that you may not have considered (I'm a strong advocate for Cascade).

Whoa...that was a rant?! I better not abuse that power! :lol:
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147030)
Posted by kjeevah on November 16th, 2010 @ 5:28am CST
absolutely despicable. their 'concession' to stop use of the name in europe is meaningless.

it is not a european issue, this name must not be allowed full stop.
t is an old-fashioned word that came to be used in a derogatory sense, and now has taken on that meaning, just the same as nigger. For those saying people are too easily offended and that it's fine to call a transformer 'spastic' (still waiting to see what gems the bio holds..), I assume then that you would be fine with the next toy in the line being called 'Nigger'?

Even without appreciation of the offensiveness, spastic still simply means someone with cerebral palsy, so when for example Tiger Woods said in 2006 'I played like a spaz', he was saying both 'I played in a useless and incompetent way' and 'I played like someone who had cerebral palsy', therefore attaching negative connotations and false stereotypes to people with cerbral palsy.

NOT OK.This is why Tiger Woods had to give a grovelling apology to the media over it. Look it up.

And for those of you who mistakenly believe that this is only a UK term, ADAPT is an american disability rights organisation:

[quote]When people say 'you're such a spaz' they're talking about someone with cerebral palsy," says Nancy Salandra from Philadelphia ADAPT. "People use it all the time but they are wrong. It's part of the language now, like retard, but it doesn't make it right."

"I would think that anybody in the disability community would see it as offensive," says Babs Johnson of National ADAPT. "It would be looked upon as someone having a fit or seizure or something like that. Body movements that you're not able to control."
[/quote]
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147034)
Posted by Dead Metal on November 16th, 2010 @ 6:17am CST
Seibertron wrote:
Counterpunch wrote:Comparing the n-word to "spaz" is a poor comparison. One was created with the intent to be demeaning the other was created with a non-offensive intent.

A more appropriate comparison would be with the word "fag".

Also, I have no intent to clarify the nature in which we discuss these words. Clearly this is a matter of simple discourse and not an opportunity to use ugly words in glib fashion.


"Fag" is a perfect example of this situation with the word "spastic" -- but in reverse. Are cigarettes still referred to as "fags" in the UK or is use of "fag" dwindling as a common word for cigarettes?

Yes, at least the places I go to.


Well to the topic of Spastic, it's not just English speaking countries that use the word as a derogatory term, but also Germany, usually spelt as "Spastiker", "Spasti", with the later being even stronger.


I predict that this toy will be freaking expensive down the line, especially in box.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147042)
Posted by Tyrenol on November 16th, 2010 @ 6:47am CST
I remember a long time ago when that Stunticon was called "Dragstrip."

Hey. I'm for "political correctness" in the efforts of keeping adult doujins about girls 9 years or younger off the web where they don't belong. But the least the people in power should do is be a bit more creative. \_(-_-)_/
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147070)
Posted by Caelus on November 16th, 2010 @ 8:22am CST
Jack_Cade wrote:The only difference between the UK and the US is that we've cottoned onto the fact that it's a word charged with hate and discrimination, while US peeps apparently think it's OK so long as you use it in a light-hearted fashion. Sure, go ahead and keep using it as long as you think it's OK that your actions contribute towards people feeling excluded, depressed and sometimes even suicidal. Pretend it's their problem and not yours.

So to be clear, I'm not personally 'offended' when I hear someone call someone else a spastic; I just think "What an utter prick."



I think this is the implied attitude that has a lot of Americans offended in this thread.

It's upsetting to have people come our of left-field and derogate you for doing something you've done for years, having had no reason to believe it was wrong.

The reaction to that sort of dissonance is naturally going to be... ugly.



Edit: Also, Dragstrip? Not the most 'family-friendly' word ever. Not surprised they were trying to get away from it.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147077)
Posted by Counterpunch on November 16th, 2010 @ 8:36am CST
Caelus wrote:
Jack_Cade wrote:The only difference between the UK and the US is that we've cottoned onto the fact that it's a word charged with hate and discrimination, while US peeps apparently think it's OK so long as you use it in a light-hearted fashion. Sure, go ahead and keep using it as long as you think it's OK that your actions contribute towards people feeling excluded, depressed and sometimes even suicidal. Pretend it's their problem and not yours.

So to be clear, I'm not personally 'offended' when I hear someone call someone else a spastic; I just think "What an utter prick."



I think this is the implied attitude that has a lot of Americans offended in this thread.

It's upsetting to have people come our of left-field and derogate you for doing something you've done for years, having had no reason to believe it was wrong.

The reaction to that sort of dissonance is naturally going to be... ugly.



Edit: Also, Dragstrip? Not the most 'family-friendly' word ever. Not surprised they were trying to get away from it.


All good points.

But I do think that "Dragstrip" is a perfectly acceptable term. I mean, that IS the word used for the place where drag racing occurs.
Re: Hasbro's statement about the Transformer product named "Spastic" (1147078)
Posted by Rated X on November 16th, 2010 @ 8:37am CST
This is so RETARTED !!! And I said retarted on purpose because I want to make a point. When I use the word "retarted" I am not trying to insult children with special needs. I am simply using it as a figure of speech that means "STUPID" !!! Can we please stop being so damn politically correct ??? Ever since Janet Jackson had her "wardrobe malfunction" at the Superbowl (which I enjoyed) their has been a outcry for censorship. This is almost as dumb as the HA Jazz package complaint that it promotes alcohol and gambling.

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