Earlier this week, Toys ‘R’ Us removed a line of meth-toting Breaking Bad action figures from its stores following a petition campaign started by a Florida mother who felt the toys were inappropriate for children (despite being carried in the chain’s “adult action figure” section). Now Aaron Paul – who played Walter White’s protege-nemesis Jesse Pinkman on the acclaimed AMC drama – has fired back by endorsing a counter-petition that aims to revive the toys following their metaphorical trip to Belize.
“Wait, so @ToysRUs pulled all of the Breaking Bad figures from their shelves and still sells Barbie?” the actor tweeted on Thursday. “Hmmmm…I wonder what is more damaging?” “And what about all of the violent video games you sell @ToysRUs ?,” he added in a follow-up tweet. “Do you still sell those? Florida mom really messed it up for everyone.”
The counter-petition has now reached over 30,000 signatures. “It is NOT irresponsible to have these in the store,” reads a description on the site. “It is only irresponsible if they sell them to people they are not appropriate for. That’s why I’m calling on Toys ‘R’ Us to KEEP selling the Breaking Bad action figure collection in their stores and on their website as well as other ‘mature’ toy lines.”
On Friday morning, Paul followed up his initial comments, calling out the company once again. “Dear @ToysRUs, We have close to 30,000 signed on the petition,” he wrote. “That is three times the amount that caused you to remove the toys. Talk to me. Ap”
The original petition picked up steam last week, with petition head Susan Schrijver speaking out against the toys to Fort Myers, Florida news affiliate Fox 4. “It’s about drugs, you’re selling it in a children’s toy store?” she said. “Kids mimic their action figures, if you will. Do you want your child in an orange jumpsuit?”
Toys ‘R’ Us responded to the controversy in swift (and clever) fashion, with Toys “R” Us spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh telling NBC News that the action figures had taken an “indefinite sabbatical” – a reference to a classic Breaking Bad line.