Toy maker GoldieBlox backs down from Beastie Boys fight
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — A company that makes toys to encourage girls to become engineers has backed down from using a Beastie Boys song in its ad.
GoldieBlox had used a parody version of the decidedly misogynistic Beastie Boys song “Girls” in a video featuring a trio of inventive girls who trade their tiaras for a toolbox.
The company’s lawyers filed a lawsuit last week asserting their “fair use” of the tune, but Wednesday its founders posted a letter addressed to Beastie Boys Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz.
“We don’t want to fight with you,” founder Debbie Sterling wrote. “We love you and we are actually huge fans.”
The song has been removed from the video, which went viral this month and gained millions of online viewers, she said.
“When we made our parody version of your song, ‘Girls’, we did it with the best of intentions,” Sterling said. “We wanted to transform it into a powerful anthem for girls.” The company did not realize that Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch, who died last year, had in his will that he wanted his songs to never be used in advertising, she said.
“Although we believe our parody video falls under fair use, we would like to respect his wishes and yours,” she wrote.
The Beastie Boys song 1987 “Girls” has lyrics including, “Girls, to do the dishes,” and, “Her pants were tight, and that’s OK.”
In the GoldieBlox version, the lyrics are synchronized with a “Rube Goldberg” contraption — a device over-engineered to carry out a simple task — and altered to convey a more feminist message: “You like to buy us pink toys, and everything else is for boys and you can always get us dolls and we’ll grow up like them … false.”
“Over the past week, parents have sent us pictures and videos of their kids singing with pride, building their own Rube Goldberg machines in their living rooms and declaring an interest in engineering,” Sterling wrote Wednesday. “It’s been incredible to watch.”
Sterling, a Stanford-educated engineer, has said her ultimate goal is to bridge the gap of gender disparity in engineering; according to the Association for Women in Science, women account for 24% of the science, technology, engineering and math work force.
She wants to “disrupt the pink aisle” and “get girls building” with her “toys for future inventors.”
The video is one of four finalists in Intuit’s “Small Business, Big Game” contest. The contest winner will nab a multimillion-dollar ad spot during the Super Bowl on February 2.