The creator of Bratz and LOL Surprise dolls has called a Black influencer a ‘disgrace to Black people’ and threatened to sue her after she accused his company of copying her image.
Amina Mucciolo, who is known as @studiomucci on Instagram, has claimed that MGA Entertainment’s LOL Surprise ‘Rainbow Raver’ doll was made in her likeness without her permission, which the company denies.
After the 37-year-old from Los Angeles tweeted she was in the process of trying to find a lawyer because the company was ‘trying to intimidate and bully’ her, MGA Entertainment founder and CEO Isaac Larian attacked her in a stream of inflammatory messages.
Influencer Amina Mucciolo, 37, from Los Angeles, has claimed MGA Entertainment’s LOL Surprise ‘Rainbow Raver’ doll allegations was made in her likeness without her permission
Too far: MGA Entertainment founder and CEO Isaac Larian (right) attacked the artist on Twitter, calling her a ‘disgrace to black people and the BLM cause’
Resemblance: The doll, which was released last summer, has the same aqua hair with rainbow highlights that Mucciolo wore from November 2018 to February 2019
Mucciolo, who has been open about being bisexual and being diagnosed with autism at the age of 35, told BuzzFeed News that in late 2019, her followers started DMing her to ask if she knew LOL Surprise had made her into a doll.
‘The first thing I noticed was the exact replica of a hairstyle I did to celebrate my 35th birthday,’ she said of the doll’s pigtails. ‘It was aqua with rainbow highlights, and it was shocking because the hairstyle was the result of my imagination and leftover hair I had from the previous style I wore.
‘I didn’t have a visual reference or anything, so it was disturbing to see something that came straight from my mind, to be duplicated on a toy that I had no part in creating.’
Mucciolo called out LOL Surprise in an Instagram post on June 7, saying the company never asked her permission or compensated for the doll.
‘LOL Surprise created a doll based on my entire image and identity without my permission,’ she wrote. ‘And I haven’t received any acknowledgment of compensation from them in any way.’
Allegations: Mucciolo called out LOL Surprise in an Instagram post, saying the company never asked her permission or compensated for the doll
Timeline: In her post, she shared when she started wearing the hairdo and when the brand released the doll
Claims: Mucciolo said that when she tried to contact the company, she was ignored
Fighting back: Mucciolo started a Change.org petition calling for the company to pay her
Response: LOL Surprise denied copying her look, saying the doll was in development months before she started wearing the unique hairstyle
The influencer said her hair was dyed aqua with rainbow highlights from November 2018 to February 2019, and during that time, she shared numerous photos of the colorful hairstyle on social media.
She explained that she was a guest on LOL Surprise’s YouTube channel in April 2019, and that summer the brand released the ‘Rainbow Raver’ doll as a part of its ‘Hair Goals’ collection — ‘and it looks exactly like me.’
‘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,’ she added.
The artist said she tried reaching out to LOL Surprise and its parent company MGA Entertainment but was ignored, so she started a Change.org petition calling for the company to pay her.
LOL Surprise responded to her allegations on Instagram on June 10 and denied that the doll was made in her likeness. The company claimed the toy has been in development since the summer of 2018, months before Mucciolo adopted that hairstyle.
Won’t back down: Mucciolo continued to use her social medial platform to publicly criticize the company and also revealed she is looking for a lawyer to represent her
Public attack: Larian responded to her tweet with an inflammatory Twitter rant calling her a ‘liar’ and a ‘fraud’
Wrong: Larian later deleted the tweets and issued an apology note
He said, she said: The CEO claimed the company had reached out to Mucciolo multiple times
Didn’t happen: He also continued to deny that the doll was made in Mucciolo’s likeness
‘Our colorful and creative team is inspired by trends in pop culture. Rainbow Raver was designed after music festival fashions,’ the company wrote in a statement.
‘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.’
Mucciolo has continued to use her social medial platform to publicly criticize the company, and on June 19, she tweeted images showing how the doll looks just like her.
In a series of tweets, she said she ‘refused to be silenced,’ claiming MGA Entertainment had all of her previous photos of the doll removed on social media under violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) ‘when it was obviously fair use.’
‘But what they didn’t know is that I picked up one of these stupid dolls for proof! So now I’m sharing my own pictures!’ she wrote. ‘I’m in the process of hiring a lawyer because they are really trying to intimidate and bully me right now.
Popular: Mucciolo has more than 327,000 Instagram followers thanks to her rainbow aesthetic
Just saying: Mucciolo has reminded her fans that she has been ‘serving rainbow looks and colorful hair on the internets for years now’
Using their power: Critics have taken to Twitter to call for a boycott of MGA Entertainment’s toys following the CEO’s attack on Mucciolo
‘So if my Twitter or Instagram accounts disappear, you know why.’
Larian responded to her tweets with a public attack, writing: ‘You are #Disgrace to black people and the #BLM cause. #Liar and #Coward.’
‘You are a #LIAR and a #Extortinist [sic] and #Fraud,’ he continued. ‘Who’s your so called lawyer? Put his name and contact information here PUBLICLY now so we can contact him or her. Now we will no longer be nice and we will sue you for defamation, extortion, fraud, etc. Watch!’
Larian later deleted the tweets and issued an apology note.
‘I don’t know @studiomucci personally, and my reaction was solely based on the allegations which we looked into and found were false,’ he wrote. ‘The words I used came from frustration because her actions were attacking the products and integrity of people I care deeply about. I was wrong for that.’
Not the first time: Mucciolo claimed last year that Lisa Frank had copied her apartment decor for a pop-hotel in Los Angeles
See it? The artist shared side-by-side photos of her home and the pop-up hotel
Looking back: In the message that she shared, Mucciolo wrote that she believed she was getting evicted from her apartment because of the pop-up hotel
Her wfords: Mucciolo said she and her husband were ‘unjustly being thrown out on the street’
However, he continued to deny that the doll was made in Mucciolo’s likeness.
Echoing the brand’s previous statement, he referenced the doll’s production timeline to say it was in development months before the influencer had posted any photos of herself sporting the unique hairstyle.
Larian has since deleted his Twitter account as the apology did little to squelch the backlash and calls for stores to boycott MGA Entertainment’s toys.
Film director Matthew A. Cherry was among those who slammed Larian and his company, writing: ‘I encourage a boycott of all of @isaaclarian ’s @MGAEnt ’s properties indefiently. He needs to run @StudioMucci her check and that s****y notes app “can’t even call it an apology” he put out isn’t it.’
‘I’ve been a Bratz girl for YEARS and I’m really hurt over this, but it can’t be ignored just because of my personal attachments,’ someone else commented. ‘The CEO really called a black woman a “disgrace” after they blatantly stole her image for a doll. This isn’t okay. This is horrible.’
‘They blatantly copied Amina’s image (f**k that production timeline bs they argued, Amina has been dressing boldly and colorfully long before their weak excuse of a timeline) and rather than apologizing or offering to collaborate on future products, Isaac Larian threatened her,’ another tweeted.
DailyMail.com has reached out to MGA Entertainment for comment.
Throwback: Mucciolo brought up the accusations again earlier this month on Blackout Tuesday, a collective action to protest racism, police brutality, and amplify Black voices
Interesting timing: Nearly eight months after Mucciolo first accused the brand of copying her designs, Lisa Frank hit back at her amid the Black Lives Matters protests to deny her claims
Back and forth: Mucciolo shared Lisa Frank’s response on Twitter
This isn’t the first time that Mucciolo has accused a company of ripping off her funky rainbow look and designs. Last year, she claimed Lisa Frank copied her apartment decor for a pop-hotel.
She brought up the accusations again earlier this month on Blackout Tuesday, a collective action to protest racism, police brutality, and amplify Black voices.
‘Remember when LF totally ripped me off and stole my apt design (that was the source of my income) for a hotel in my very same building, and then conspired with the two other corporations involved to silence me and have me thrown out on the street? Now they on ig lying. Lol,’ she wrote.
Nearly eight months after Mucciolo first accused the brand of copying her interior designs, Lisa Frank hit back at her amid the Black Lives Matters protests to deny her claims. Without explicitly naming the artist, the company called her ‘opportunistic’ and attention-seeking.
‘While all of the country was spending time reflecting, learning, listening, and taking action during Blackout Tuesday, we were disappointed to hear of an opportunistic individual taking that moment to focus attention on herself, for her own personal benefit, by repeating her false accusations that we have stolen artwork and designs from her,’ the brand wrote.
‘Over the past months, we have silently forgiven her need to deflect blame away from her own failures by perpetuating this false narrative; however, we owe it to our fans to speak out this one time to address these lies.’
According to Lisa Frank, the company did not design the hotel room or its location. It merely provided original artwork pop-up that ‘dates back as far as the early 1980s.’
‘We have never stolen designs. We take immense pride in our original artwork and creations that have brought our fans joy for decades,’ the company added. ‘We adore our fans, and the goal when the company began remains the same today — to bring color, happiness and imagination to the world.’