Laura Byrne apologises for Kmart doll with Down Syndrome gaffe

Sarah Carty
·Lifestyle Editor
·3-min read

Former Bachelor star Laura Byrne has issued a tearful apology after mistakenly calling a Kmart doll with Down Syndrome ‘truly petrifying’.

The 34-year-old shared a clip to her Instagram page showing her out shopping with her 18-month-old daughter Marlie yesterday, when they came across the doll.

Laura Byrne crying
Laura Byrne has apologised after unintentionally making fun of a doll with Down Syndrome. Photo: Instagram/Laura Byrne

“Good luck to all the mamas surviving the next week of rain with toddlers stuck inside,” Laura wrote over the video.

“I think we have enough crying babies at home, we don’t need another one,” she told her daughter.

“And this baby here is truly petrifying. That is a scary AF doll.”

The doll was in a box labelled: “Baby Amelia with Down Syndrome.”

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A few hours later, Laura returned to her social media account to tearfully apologise for the mistake.

"F*** me I just can't even begin to describe how sorry I am," Laura started.

Laura said since posting the initial story she had received a “whole heap of messages” from her followers alerting her to her error.

Kmart dolls with Down Syndrome
The inclusive dolls were launched in Kmart in December. Photo: Kmart

"I put up a story, Marlie and I were running through Kmart and I was like 'this doll looks scary AF' is exactly what I said."

“There was a doll in Kmart which I genuinely thought just looked tired.

"So many of you guys have messaged me to let me know that it was actually an inclusivity doll, and I feel sick to my stomach for the mistake that I made.”

Starting to cry, Laura continued: "I had no idea and I'm really, really sorry for offending anyone, it was totally unintentional."

Laura went on to thank her followers for messaging her about the mistake.

"Not one person, not one, sent me an abusive message," she said. 

“I really appreciate that your instant reaction was not to think that I'm an a*****e, because I would never ever do that intentionally. Like I said, I feel absolutely horrible so thanks everyone."

In December 2020, Kmart launched the line of baby dolls with Down Syndrome for $15.

Laura Byrne crying over Kmart doll with Down Syndrome
Laura said she feels 'sick to her stomach' over the mistake. Photo: Instagram/Laura Byrne

John Gualtieri, Kmart Retail Director Australia & New Zealand, previously Yahoo Lifestyle the store aims to design and create products that are meaningful for customers and represent the world we live in.

“We want all of our customers (especially our littlest ones) to be able to find products they can truly relate to; and we’re committed to championing inclusion and diversity to make sure this happens,” John said.

“To evolving and expanding our representation of diversity in our toys and dolls, to more accurately reflect people of different ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities and sexual orientations.

“That’s why we’re so excited to introduce our new range of Down Syndrome dolls.”

John said he hoped the dolls would help normalise conditions like Down Syndrome, so that people “don't feel different from their friends”.

“We want children to see themselves represented in our doll ranges and we want to help children learn more about people who are different from themselves,” he says.

“We’ve been on a journey with diversity for some time and we’re proud to have increased our representation of diverse dolls in store…but we know there is always more work to be done in this space.”

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