Sesame Workshop examines possible unlicensed North Korean knock-off toys

Sesame Workshop voiced concern Wednesday after a North Korean government-owned trade publication highlighting a toy company’s apparent offerings came to light that appear to include unlicensed Sesame Street characters. The photos appeared in the latest issue of Foreign Trade of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a quarterly publication highlighting manufacturers of products ranging from plush toys and “Gold Liquor” to “cornhusk shoes.” On page 13 of the publication is a profile of Kyonghung Trading Corp., a 7-year-old manufacturer of plush toys, some bearing the likenesses of Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Elmo. In an email to Voice of America, which ran the story, Sesame Workshop said “we believe the toys pictured are unauthorized.” But, on his Twitter feed Thursday, Felix Abt, author of A Capitalist in North Korea: My Seven Years in the Hermit Kingdom cautioned that the picture did not equal proof the North Korean company was producing illegal knock-offs of Sesame Street characters. “Where is the evidence?