Matt Gaetz Calls Mr. Potato Head 'America's First Transgender Doll'

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz called Mr. Potato Head "America's first transgender doll" until it "got canceled" in response to a decision by toy company Hasbro to drop "Mr." from the brand's name.

Speaking to Fox News' Sean Hannity on Thursday, the Republican congressman also condemned eBay for removing listings of discontinued Dr. Seuss books unders its "offensive materials policy."

The Quote

Gaetz said: "When a married couple had a newsletter that criticized eBay, some eBay executives sent them a book about how to survive the murder of your spouse, a book that is still available on eBay, but Dr. Seuss is a bridge too far.

"Michelle Obama read Dr. Seuss to children, I don't wanna live in a world too woke for Michelle Obama, but should it really surprise us?"

"Mr. Potato Head now apparently has to go by Potato X, and the whole point of Mr. Potato Head is that you can move the parts around. He was America's first transgender doll, and even he got canceled."

Why it Matters

When Hasbro announced a rebranding of its spud-shaped figurine line, the decision was met with outcry by conservatives, who viewed the move as representative of encroaching so-called "cancel culture."

Gaetz had previously made similar claims last week at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr.—son of former President Donald Trump—told Fox News Mr. Potato Head was "canceled," along with Dr. Seuss and the Muppets. He also criticized cookie brand Oreo for "chiming in on trans rights."

Dr. Seuss became the "cancel culture" embodiment du jour after Dr. Seuss Enterprises discontinued books believed to contain imagery depicting people in a manner that is "hurtful and wrong," in reference to racist and insensitive illustrations.

The Counterpoint

While Hasbro explained it sought to "promote gender equality and inclusion" by renaming its brand "Potato Head," the company said Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head will not be discontinued, nor will a new gender-neutral figurine be introduced.

This fall, Hasbro will be launching a "create your own potato family" toy kit as a "celebration of the many faces of families." The kit will allow children to mix and match accessories on blank potato bodies.

In a tweet amid the backlash, Hasbro wrote: "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."

The United States' first transgender doll—also hailed as the world's first—was reported to have been created in 2017, when the Tonner Doll Company released a doll modeled after then-teenaged trans activist Jazz Jennings.

Matt Gaetz addresses CPAC
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images