Obama Chia Pet pulled of shelves after complaints

April 9th, 2009 - 6:43 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Chicago (US), Apr.9 (ANI): Drug store chain Walgreens has removed a Barack Obama version of the Chia Pet from its stores.

The Deerfield-headquartered drugstore chain made the move Friday after getting a few complaints about the item since the product’s April 1 launch, a spokeswoman said.

Chia founder Joseph Pedott — a Chicago native whose San Francisco-based Joseph Enterprises provides local jobs for the disabled — said he was inspired to create the Obama head as a show of patriotism.

Pedott, a middle-aged white man, was nervously surveying black women about the product at the Home and Housewares Show in Chicago just two days before the two versions — a “determined” Obama and a smiling Obama — hit the stores.

The 19.99 dollar Chia Obama, which sprouts foliage in the space where hair would be, is still available at chiaobama.com, but Pedott said he’s trying to find another large brick-and-mortar retailer to sell the item.

The product is the second Chia offering to be based on a person; the company produced a promotional item for Mr. T. Cheryl V. Jackson

Earlier it was reported that New Yorkers were likely to get a chance to greet the grassy-headed figurine as was being pulled off from Walgreens shelves in Chicago and Tampa over claims that it is racist and wrong for the company’s image.

According to the New York Daily News, Chia Obama’s maker is in negotiations with drugstore chains in the New York market to bring Chia Obama here in the coming weeks.

“As quickly as they can take them, we will send them,” said Pedott.

Pedott said Chia Obama is for sale online - in “Happy” or “Determined” poses.

Pedott said he was stung by suggestions that there was something racist about Chia Obama, which, if left untrimmed, appears to give the 44th President a healthy, if very green, Afro.

The presidential bust is also emblazoned “Yes We Can,” Obama’s campaign slogan, as well as with the words “liberty,” “opportunity,” “prosperity” and “hope.” (ANI)

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