Fact Check: Is Hasbro Replacing Mr. Potato Head With Gender-Neutral Toy?

As the House passed the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, the conversation about gender continued online as Hasbro toy company announced a change to its classic toy.

The Claim

In a press release Thursday, Hasbro announced it was renaming the Mr. Potato Head brand Potato Head to "better reflect the full line" of potato toy products.

The news coverage that followed resulted in some confusion online.

Reports that "Mr. Potato Head is no longer a mister" led some to claim that the company was replacing the existing toys with a new, gender-neutral toy character.

Just release a Gender Neutral Potato Head alongside the original couple. This seems incredibly unnecessary to replace Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, @Hasbro. https://t.co/4mscY3cLV0

— Hugo Alyn Stephens (#ReleaseTheSchumacherCut) (@TheOtherWhoFan) February 25, 2021

The Facts

In the release, Hasbro said that it was "making sure all feel welcome in the Potato Head world by officially dropping the Mr. from the Mr. Potato Head brand name and logo to promote gender equality and inclusion."

There is a difference between the overall brand "Mr. Potato Head" that includes all the Potato Head products and the individual Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head character toys that have male or female accessories.

Hasbro is not discontinuing the Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head characters, nor is it creating a new gender-neutral potato character. The overall brand name is dropping the "Mr." from the logo.

"While we're renaming the MR. POTATO HEAD brand to POTATO HEAD to better reflect the full line, the iconic MR. and MRS. POTATO HEAD characters aren't going anywhere and will remain MR. AND MRS. POTATO HEAD," Hasbro said in a statement to Newsweek. "The new product we announced today, CREATE YOUR POTATO HEAD FAMILY, is a kit that includes enough potatoes and accessories for kids to create all types of families."

Hasbro issued an updated press release and a tweet to clear up misconceptions.

Hold that Tot – your main spud, MR. POTATO HEAD isn’t going anywhere! While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the ‘MR.’ I yam proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD pic.twitter.com/6I84KrxOLQ

— Hasbro (@Hasbro) February 25, 2021

The company shared images of toys in new packaging. The boxes have a new brand name that reads "Potato Head" instead of the previous "Mr. Potato Head." The boxes for individual Potato Head characters include a label at the bottom to distinguish if the toy inside is a Mr. or Mrs.

Some questioned whether the company tweet was a backtrack in response to initial criticism of the gender-inclusive rebrand.

Ainsley Earhardt worries about how she'll know which gender of potato toy to buy (they're labeled "Mr." and "Mrs.",) and Steve Doocy assumes Hasbro was trying to be politically correct until "the backlash was enormous" and it backtracked in a panic (that's not what happened.) pic.twitter.com/yrPAo7yqrI

— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) February 26, 2021

A spokesperson from Hasbro told Newsweek that the plan all along was to rename the Mr. Potato Head brand to Potato Head and that the updated packaging shows that Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head were always going to remain.

In an updated press release, Hasbro said it will launch the "create your own potato family" toy kit this fall to allow children to create their own potato families. The toys will include two large potato bodies, one small potato body and 42 accessories for "mixing and matching."

The Ruling

False.

Hasbro is not discontinuing the Mr. Potato Head character in favor of a gender-neutral toy. The company is renaming the overall brand collection Potato Head and introducing a build-your-own potato family set to celebrate "the many faces of families." Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head toys still will be sold.

Potato Head Family
The upcoming Potato Head line. Hasbro