• Why Would Hasbro Shred a Little Girls Letter, Thanking Them for My Little Pony?

    We've gotten quite a few emails demanding we raise the torches in favor of a trending story about a little girl that sent a letter over to Hasbro. According to the original post over on Reddit, Someone's 10 year old daughter who absolutely loves everything about ponies decided to send in some fan mail, complete with a hand drawn picture of Rainbow Dash, a few suggestions (removing Trixie of all ponies! poor Trixie...) and general happiness with the show.

    Unfortunately, the letter was hit with the legal stomp a lot of people get when sending things to major corporations. Everything was shredded, and they dropped the usual cover of "didn't read, sorry". So why would a major company like Hasbro, who is so focused on good PR to please their investors and avoid situations like this, do something like that?

    Below, lets dig into what probably happened, how you can avoid it, and why it's a thing.

    First off, lets start with something most of us are already aware of based on countless responses from staffers on the show at conventions. There is a big trend with creators and companies to avoid admitting to consuming fan content. The writers on the show have expressed their inability to read fanfiction for example, citing that it may corrupt the original work. Daniel Ingram can't admit to listening to fan-made music outside of remixes, as it may influence his future songs.

    Obviously, they don't live in a bubble. I wouldn't doubt Daniel is well aware of what the fandom is making on their own, and the writers have probably seen some fan content if their Lyra and Bonbon interpretation is anything. They can't admit to this though. While difficult to uphold in the courts and extremely rare, there is always the fear that someone will hop on and say "Hey! You admit to using my idea! Pay me!" if something similar appears in official content. It's much easier to just avoid it entirely.

    Unfortunately... this leads to what we see above. A ten year old girl who poured her love into a letter expressing how much she enjoys the show got misdirected to the legal department, who blanket-shred everything to cover themselves.

    Is this the right thing to do? From a PR and ethical perspective, of course not. As you have probably already noticed, it's all over the internet now. They hurt a fan's feelings, going so far as shredding her Rainbow Dash drawing, and the masses are angry. Some things probably could have been changed to at least soften the blow. The letter could have been worded better for example, showing appreciation for the submission, but expressing their lack of ability to consume it. They could have sent the letter back, Rainbow Dash intact, with a different address to send it to (though, that could have triggered one of those legal hurdles).

    From a legal perspective, it was probably the smart thing to do. There is a lot of fear in the corporate world due to how sue-happy everyone is. That's why major corporations have a legal department. A lot of it is a bit on the over-protective side, but for every army of happy fans, one rogue agent is creeping around looking for something to start a lawsuit over.

    Twitter pony by Maguiponyartist

    So, if you want to tell Hasbro how much you love pony, what should you do? The wonders of the current internet have actually opened up some pretty good channels for that, with traditional letters slowly fading.  Twitter is a great place to start, where pretty much all of the major players on the show are currently trucking away. They may or may not be able to respond for the same reasons above, but similar to the writers and Ingram above, technology has made it pretty impossible to not at least see it and appreciate internally.

    If you do want to send an actual physical letter directly to Hasbro themselves, their Rhode Island office is said to be much more open, though we don't have any confirmation of that. As with most companies, branches are run differently, but a single company-wide email can change that.

    At the end of the day, we can all thank the legal trolls out there for taking advantage of a broken system and ruining it for the rest of us. Maybe some day it will open up, but society has a lot of work to do, and a lot of important people that don't want to fix it. That being said, they still could have handled this differently, but when you get as big as Hasbro is, it's hard to give everyone a one-on-one, and mistakes do happen.