Society for Case Research MBAA 2020

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Paul E. Olsen, Ethan J. Hendrickson

Controversial Children’s Toy Blows Up in CEO’s Face

This case is about YULU President and co-founder Jochem van Rijn and the backlash his company received to its “Cut The Wire” children’s toy, a toy bomb that had to be defused before it exploded. Critics viewed the toy as making light of the problem of youth violence in contemporary American society and an inappropriate toy for 6 year-olds. For his part, Jochem van Rijn was torn. As a toy maker, what ethical responsibility did he have for the toys YULU produced and marketed? Was the backlash to Cut The Wire legitimate or an overreaction? Would the controversy pass? If not, what should he do next?