Hasbro Says That Potato Head Will Keep 'Mr.' After Outcry Over Gender-Inclusive Line

"It's time for Republican states to secede," media analyst Mark Dice wrote on Twitter for his more than 600,000 followers and included a post about the news. Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro also sarcastically tweeted about the story, while radio host Eric Erick Erickson added further mockery. What raised their ire? Mr. Potato Head, or rather, the possibility of the toy's manufacturing company Hasbro dropping the "Mr." from his title for a more gender inconclusive image. Anyone worried about him losing the distinction can now rest easy knowing he technically won't be.

Mr and Mrs Potato Head
Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head attend Variety's Power of Youth presented by Hasbro, Inc. and generationOn at Universal Studios Backlot on July 27, 2013 in Universal City, California. Getty

Today, perhaps in an attempt to stem criticisms that also included Fox News' Sean Hannity running a segment under the headline "Mr. Potato Head Canceled," Hasbro followed up on yesterday's announcement that Mr. Potato Head would now be sold under the more neutral monicker of Potato Head. The company clarified that the toy line would receive the new name change from "Mr. Potato Head" to "Potato Head" this coming fall, but the actual character of Mr. Potato Head would still retain his male-associated distinction of being a "mister."

In a tweet today, 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."

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

While both Mr. Potato Head and his spud spouse Mrs. Potato Head still have the prefixes attached to their names in a picture of the new, not-yet-released boxes of the toys included in the tweet, the names are less prominently displayed than before. Their names now appear at the bottom of the package and in a smaller font than the more colorful "Potato Head" adorning the top.

Mark Dice's sarcastic call to action on Twitter is seen below.

It's time for Republican states to secede.

— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) February 25, 2021

After an earlier tweet reading "MR POTATO HEAD 1953-2021, Hasbro: He Was 'Limited When It Comes to Gender Identity'," Sean Hannity seemingly expressed joy by writing "Mr. Potato Head Lives!" in regard to the more recent announcement about the character retaining his male title.

Not everyone was outraged about the Potato Head announcement. Rich Ferraro, GLAAD's chief communications officer, applauded the move. "Hasbro is helping kids to simply see toys as toys, which encourages them to be their authentic selves outside of the pressures of traditional gender norms," he said in a statement.

Kaya Burgess of the London Times pointed out critics were getting riled up before even reading the fine print that it was just the toy line and not the characters getting an updated name. However, much of the confusion was created by Hasbro itself, when the company's senior vice president and general manager said the following in an interview with Fast Company: "Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences. The way the brand currently exists—with the 'Mr.' and 'Mrs.'—is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure."

Mr. Potato Head is not the first toy in recent years that's attempting to adapt to more progressive cultural attitudes. Other examples include the Barbie line expanding its list of options to include dolls of different skin tones and body shapes; American Girl selling boy dolls; and Mattel's gender-neutral dolls line known as "Creatable World" that was first introduced in 2019.

Potato Head Family
The upcoming Potato Head line. Hasbro

The new Potato Head line will be available this coming fall. Included in the new designs is a Create Your Potato Head Family set that comes baby and two adults with different accessories and faces to create whatever combination of potato heads kids like. Images released by Hasbro for the Create Your Potato Head Family shows the box depicts what could be interpreted as two potato head moms and another with a pair of potato head dads.