‘Don’t call me Freakface’

Disfigurement charity urges people to challenge Moshi Monsters

With Anti-Bullying Week underway, Changing Faces, the national disfigurement charity, is launching a new campaign, ‘Don’t call me Freakface’. It is calling on Mind Candy, the creators of Moshi Monsters, to stop using names like ‘Freakface’ which are common terms of abuse towards children with disfigurements. It is also asking Mind Candy to stop using scars, spots and missing eyes to emphasize the evil nature of their bad characters.

James Partridge, CEO of Changing Faces, explains: “Actions make people or characters evil not scars, marks or asymmetric features. For far too long, disfigurement has been a lazy shortcut for the entertainment industry to suggest that a character or person is evil. Mind Candy has fallen into the same trap by using outdated, unfounded and offensive descriptions of common disfigurements to emphasize the evilness of the Glumps, the Moshi Monster baddies.”

Lucas Hayward, 17, said, “I was born with frontal-nasal craniofacial dysplasia.  The day I started primary school, the name-calling started.  ‘Pig nose, flat nose, elephant man and ugly’.  It was relentless. The boys would punch me and stand on my head just because of the way I looked.  Every kid I know is into Moshi Monsters and that’s why I’m supporting Changing Faces’ ‘Don’t call me Freakface’ campaign.  These names are terms of abuse but they are getting the message from Moshi Monsters that it is ok to call someone this if they have scars, spots or a missing eye.  Believe me, it’s not ok.”

Specifically Changing Faces has asked Mind Candy to:

  • change the names of the Glump characters called Freakface, Fish Lips and Bruiser

  • remove all descriptions of the Glumps which place value judgments on their disfigurements in order to emphasize just how evil and scary they are, such as, ‘Bruiser’s scarred skin makes for a scary sight.”

The company has been repeatedly approached by the charity and has been asked to take the lead in changing the way that all children’s entertainment companies describe and portray their villains. But Mind Candy has refused to act.

James added: “The charity has supported thousands of children with conditions, scars or marks similar to those attributed to some of the Glumps. 90% of the children who contact us have been bullied – and name calling is extremely common. We can and do transform their lives but the very culture in which we live has to change in order for ALL children to feel confident around different and unusual faces. Given that Moshi Monsters are played by over 70 million children worldwide, we hope that Mind Candy will recognise the importance of our campaign and work with us to take action.”

During 2013 the charity successfully challenged Lego about their toy version of the Lone Ranger villain, Butch Cavendish, which coincided with the release of the Disney film. The Lego figure was described on the website as ‘a ruthless outlaw whose terribly scarred face is a perfection reflection of the bottomless pit that passes for his soul.’ Lego changed this after Changing Faces challenged them.

What can you do?

Sign the petition.

Ask your MP to sign EDM 989.

Tweet @mindcandy, @acton and @moshimonsters using the hashtag #freakface.

Find out about the Glumps.

Watch Lucas' story here.

Your Comments

If you are struggling to cope and you would like to speak to someone in confidence, please call 0845 4500 275 or email info@changingfaces.org.uk. Please note this comments section is public and we are not able to contact anyone after they have left a message on this board.

Jamaris Westerband, 39, Puerto Rici

Comment


D, 13, United Kingdom

X


Lulu Boot , 29, Manehattan

I don't think this is the way kids should be brought up at all. My son, Alex used to play Moshi Monsters all the time, he even had all the collections of the toys, and he hasn't mentioned any of the different features that the monsters have, that appear to make them "monsters" and he still loved them regardless. Of course, growing up, he grew out of it, but I still think that it would be worth having these toys less judgmental, making them "monsters" or appearing villainous due to the way they look. I also suffered from bullying at high school when I was still learning. Many people would often make fun of me due to my size, some even extending to names like a "dwarf porn star double" which makes about as much sense as a Penguin Willy Wonka falling out of the sky. While it wasn't a facial disfigurement, it still affected people's views on me. My friend, Annie Greeb had a facial disfigurement, as a matter of fact. She was often bullied the same, just like I was, and I don't believe this should be tolerated. Even my friend, Cynthia Heartstrings (contrary to the immature post previously) was also belittled as a "porn star double" which was just as absurd as a Penguin Willy Wonka falling out of the sky. I do believe this issue should be addressed, and fully support these. Also, please try and be constructive (comments below)


Rarity, 24, Carousel Boutique

I've always been a trend setting fahionista, but whatever the hay these flankholes are doing they should definetely change it! My sister and all the fillies in her class play this horrid game, and it's absurd that they would even do this! THIS IS THE. WORST. POSSIBLE. THING


rainbow dash, 99, Ponyville

this is mean. stupid corporate arseholes gaah i hate em


What kind of terrific idea of Moshi monsters? How would they make characters such as Freakface, or fish lips, wouldn't that influence younger children to get used to these words and start using them in society? A person with a facial disfigurement would really be offened by seeing these characters, because the idea in moshlings is that characters with facial disfigurements are Baddies and Villians. Moshi Monsters has also used a few characters which might be suspected as being part of racism, an example is 'Black Jack', because it is being referred to saying that black people are Baddies and Villians which is certainly not true. This will terribly influence kids to start saying 'Black people are Baddies'. In my point of view, i certainly believe that Moshi Monsters should either delete the game or change the characters! We are all equal and should be the same.


CommentWhat kind of terrific idea of Moshi monsters? How would they make characters such as Freakface, or fish lips, wouldn't that influence younger children to get used to these words and start using them in society? A person with a facial disfigurement would really be offened by seeing these characters, because the idea in moshlings is that characters with facial disfigurements are Baddies and Villians. Moshi Monsters has also used a few characters which might be suspected as being part of racism, an example is 'Black Jack', because it is being referred to saying that black people are Baddies and Villians which is certainly not true. This will terribly influence kids to start saying 'Black people are Baddies'. In my point of view, i certainly believe that Moshi Monsters should either delete the game or change the characters! We are all equal and should be the same.


thomas, 27, england

Firstly my daughter has a 'fishlips' toy and all of the glump series figures, she adores them and loves the way they look and appreciates the way they are all different as are the other 'good' moshi monsters that are all unique and have various 'imperfections' if you must dwell on that (by commercial barbie doll standards), she isn't scared or critical of them and doesn't judge on their appearances. Targeting one organisation to persecute in this way is simply contradicting yourselves, as for one you are the very same people who have associated a fictional character based on 'monsters' and you have associated them to a human being, you are just as shallow and ignorant as the people you are attacking. Rather than promote negative perceptions of people with disfigurement or disabilities why don't you invest more time promoting the positive news and accomplishments of people.


Sarah Cooke, 14, Taunton England

I used to play Moshi monsters a few years ago before I grew out of it. I'm at secondary school and all the year 7s just keep staring at me and people in my year tease me, It's almost like they think because I look different I am less intelligent. But NO I am in top set in every subject at school and no wonder all the year 7s don't get it when games teach young kids stuff like this. :(


Laura , 26, Scotland

How did this even make it passed production! As someone with a facial disfigurement I hate the idea that "scarred skin makes for a scary site". None of the hundreds of primary kids I've taught have ever been scared of my face.It's bad enough when a film geared for adults has a stupidly stereotypical baddie complete with disfigurement/ disability but disgraceful to bring it to children's products. Freak face!? How can anyone not see how offensive that name is.


Jane, 27, Nottingham

Everyone is different and that is amazing. But some people can't handle those who look different on the outside - that's their problem and we need to help those people realise they are wrong!


Grace , ol, Cardiff

Comment I support the petition ....please stop these names and the reinforcement of bullying ...x


Sue L-J, un, scotland

Comment working with children for over 30 years it is essential that anything that feeds teasing and bullying should be stamped out. I agree lets get rid of such representations as this-I shan't be buying them for my grandchildren


Gillian Warnock, Ag, Australia

It is sad society place so much importance on looks, we need to get past this and look at what is on the inside. I can’t imagine what these children and adults go through.


Francesca, Ag, Northamptonshire

I support this petition. Nobody should ever be bullied. Changing Faces does fantastic work


Emily faccini

Comment I won t be buying them !


Gavin, 41, Manchester

I support this petition. My sister has scarring from burns injuries and I know that people look at her and stare when she is out shopping etc which she interprets as people thinking she looks awful. Anything that promotes the idea that it is ok to call people names because they look different should be squashed, especially with children's toys as they are the next generation and should be encouraged to realise that all humans are different and unique in some way, but deserve to be treated with respect.


Margaret, 59, Bedfordshire

I sent a e.mail to Mind Candy who apologised(!) for any offence and stated that they are imaginary! and that other characters in the past have had similar names. We are talking about today and if a black character was given the name beginning with N that would be considered unacceptable today obviously so it has to be that to give characters who look different offensive names it should be unacceptable real or imaginary. Sadly also I noticed that somewhere close to me had the Moshi Monsters turning on their Christmas lights and they were giving away freebie moshie monster goodies. How about a boycott of stores that sell these toys especially at this time of year


First Name, Ag, Location

Comment Jk Rowling had the right idea.She gave Harry Potter a scar on his forehead and it gave him magical powers !!


Theresa, 31, Leeds

I think as guilty as mind candy are people like mattel with their Barbie doll types with over proportioned figures and unrealistic 'perfection' which pitted against Moshi monsters I definitely identify more with the latter. However, I agree that names are an issue and actually I feel had some of them had more positive names, it could have been a great way to help kids accept that there are lots of ways to look, not just to be a Barbie or a Ken! My kids have never noticed my 'visible difference' or associated my scars with those on their Moshi toys, but I can absolutely relate to what Lucas was called by other kids, went through same hell (similar condition) and I hope there are more toys that go against the grain, but hopefully with a more positive spin!


Anne, 41, Birmingham

Comment Come on Mind Candy....think again.


Visibly different AND a good person, England

This is completely unacceptable; please withdraw these products, and engage your brains when you design their replacements. Thankfully I've never given a penny to this company, and I certainly never will now. People with visible differences often have to deal with hatred, misunderstanding and prejudice as part of daily life; it is completely inappropriate to be teaching children these things. Shame on this company.


pete nyman, camberley, surrey, uk

Commentlinsensitive and avoidable Change ie


Claire Dunn , 35, Llanelli, South Wales

We are all beautiful creatures, we should be teaching our children this not generating hate x


Peter Soars, 68, Bedfordshire

I have been made aware of these childrens toys that you are producing and quite honestly I think they are in very poor taste. Children and also adults with disfigurements have to put up with enough without your Company making money from it. Please withdraw them now.


Sheila Hurley, 55, London

Comment Stop perpetuating hurtful stereotypes NOW!! I for one will boycott your company


Jemma, 32, Midlands

We need to move forward into a world where children do not live in fear of being bullied for looking different. We give the bullies ammunition to think that this is acceptable when it is NOT!


Jo, 44, Essex

I am saddened by our society's shallow air-brushed pursuit of "flawless perfection" and Moshi Monsters making it acceptable and cool to mock people who are different and portray them as "the baddies", while the pretty cute ones are the "good guys/heroes" . It is so not cool - we need to change perceptions and in childhood is the perfect place to do this.


Diane, 49, Durham

Comment We live in a very prejudiced society .Unfortunately I wonder sometimes whether we have moved on from the middle ages !!


First Name, Ag, Location

Comment We still live in a very very prejudiced society for both adults and children alike.Sometimes I wonder if we really have moved on from the middle ages .Sadly sometimes not


Steven Quincey, 37, Grantham Lincolnshire

I am supporting the petition and people living with facial differences , we shouldn't allow these sort of labels and descriptions to become commonplace. It is far easier to accept and respect others than it is to horrible, and I for one am disgusted how others are treat due to any differences at...it may be a free society and a country with freedom of speech but not at the expense of others. everyone is the same when you truly look at it and yet everyone is unique in a beautiful way


Adrienne Bedington, 57, West Wales

Close your eyes and what do you see? Everyone is beautiful!


Linda Cope, 34, Wales

I was bullied for years because of a deformity i think we need to teach our children to love and embrace our differences not to be scared. Very irresponsible of moshi monsters to create characters like this. should be ashamed.


Lottie Refet, 7, Tunbridge Wells

Lottie loves mosi monsters and everything Disney she is a fun out going little girl who has FD which means one eye is lower than the other this is something that will get worst as she grows older. Children are now noticing her "looking different" so with things called freak face and the start of lots of questions from other children why give them more toys that use these horrid names. I hope people think before buying these for there children!


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