The Father Of This Iconic 90’s Toy Was A Pretty Shady Dude
By John Popham
January 20, 2023
The past is often viewed with rose tinted glasses and the Beanie Babies are no exception, especially when it comes to the controversy around the company’s founder Ty Warner.
In a recent episode of You’re Wrong About, host Sara Marshall and guest Jamie Loftus take a look back at the questionable and petty business practices of the Beanie Babies' creator.
What has now become an iconic toy of the 1990’s might not have happened if Warner’s father hadn’t passed away. According to Loftus, the beanie king didn’t tell his sister about their father’s death for five days.
“What? That is so many days!” Marshall said. “That’s so petty.”
The younger Warner found out about her father’s death when she arrived at her childhood home to find it empty. Stripped clean of everything valuable. Ty Inc. finally had the startup money to get into the plushie business.
According to Loftus, Warner began dating his business partner Patricia (Patti) Roche soon after the company started, but she ended the relationship after years of alleged abuse and manipulation.
“On top of his possessiveness, and he would have her stalked, and all of this stuff, he also was not compensating her even remotely fairly,” Loftus said. “She starts dating a new guy and they go on vacation to Cancun, and Ty shows up in Cancun. Yeah, he was bad to her in every conceivable way.”
Roche left the company in 1993 and a couple years later Ty Inc. issued a new generation of “Patti the Platypus,” one of the Original 9 Beanie Babies. This iteration came with a brand-new feature, poems inside the iconic swing tag. This was the poem on “Patti’s” tag:
“Ran into Patti one day while walking
Believe me she wouldn’t stop talking
Listened and listened to her speak
That would explain her extra large beak!”
Even though Warner still held ill will for his ex-girlfriend, he would later cheat on his longtime girlfriend Faith McGowan with Roche. Allegations of abuse and mistreatment of employees, partners, and girlfriends were rampant throughout the height of Warner’s time at Ty Inc. and continued afterwards. According to Loftus, he stole the idea of “Spooky the Ghost” from McGowan's nine-year-old daughter.
Listen to "Beanie Babies with Jamie Loftus” to hear more details about the pettiness and callousness of the Beanie Babies’ creator- we didn’t even get into how he paid the woman responsible for creating almost every iconic thing about Beanie Babies $12 an hour for years without a raise. Checkout You’re Wrong About for more stories like this on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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