Matt Gaetz Mocked After Saying U.S. Fought Wars so Kids Don't Get British Accents

Representative Matt Gaetz has faced mockery on social media following a tweet about American children picking up British accents because of how much they've watched British TV show Peppa Pig.

Gaetz, a Republican who represents Florida's 1st congressional district, was responding to an article by The Wall Street Journal's Meghan Boborowsky about the popular show's effects on U.S. children's speech.

Boborowsky tweeted: "American kids watched so much Peppa Pig during the pandemic that they developed British accents and started regularly using British words like 'holiday' instead of 'vacation,' confusing their parents."

Retweeting the journalist, Gaetz wrote: "We fought wars so this wouldn't happen."

Though the congressman's comment could have been tongue-in-cheek, many Twitter users took the opportunity to make derisive remarks.

Some jokingly wondered if Gaetz was referring to the Revolutionary War - when the 13 American colonies gained independence from Great Britain.

"So kids wouldn't learn British pronunciations? I'm pretty sure the Revolutionary War was about something slightly more than that," wrote Twitter user Peter Cassizzi.

We fought wars so this wouldn’t happen

— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) July 19, 2021

Drew Peacock asked: "We fought wars so kids wouldnt emulate what they see on tv? Which war was that, matt?"

"No. My dad served in the Pacific Theater so we wouldn't be overrun by fascists, not so we wouldn't speak with a British accent. Wars are nothing to joke about, sir," tweeted Louisa Morgan.

The U.S. has fought two wars against the British: the Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783 and the War of 1812 from 1812 to 1815. The two nations subsequently became allies, fighting alongside each other in World War I and World War II.

"For Pete's sake Matt kids were talking in British accents after watching Peppa Pig long before this. Might I suggest somebody teach you how to Google," said user Laura Di Bella.

Others went to bat for Peppa Pig, defending the show which has proven popular with children in many countries, including the U.S. and U.K. The show focuses on a family of pigs and their animal friends and neighbors.

Twitter user Brndn Sweeney joked about the accent question, writing: "Peppa Pig is one of the best shows on the Telly. Quite. Rather. Pip pip cheerio."

"[W]hile watching with my girls when they were young, i loved Peppa Pig. and will always detest Matt Gaetz," wrote user Spinvaxxed Finn, whole another user, Queen of Typos, replied: "My daughter loved Peppa. And so did I!
And as far as Matt I'm with ya!"

Gaetz' tweet did raise some questions about what the Founding Fathers' accents were like, however, with some users suggesting they would have spoken with British accents.

"Wait until Matt finds out that the founding fathers had foreign accents," wrote user Spang.

This is far from a clear-cut question, however. Dialect coach Catherine Charlton spoke to Vanity Fair in 2008 about accents in the historical miniseries John Adams. She said we "don't know exactly" what the Founding Fathers sounded like.

The official website of Mount Vernon, George Washington's home, notes that the first president's accent may have been "predominantly American with a detectable English influence."

Newsweek has asked Representative Matt Gaetz for comment.

Matt Gaetz Attends a Free Britney Rally
Matt Gaetz at a 'Free Britney' Rally is seen on July 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Gaetz has been mocked for saying the U.S. fought a war so American children wouldn't speak with British accents. Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images/Getty Images