The popular toy manufacturer Hasbro has stripped its Mr. Potato Head toy of gender, rebranding it to simply “Potato Head.”
The toy’s new name will be reflected on all its packaging and labels later this year. The toymaker made the change to better reflect children’s tastes in toys today, the company said according to the Associated Press.
In recent years, Hasbro has rebranded and altered a number of its toys while taking heat for others over allegations that the toys are encouraging bad messages. In August, the company pulled its then-newly released “Trolls World Tour Giggle & Sing Poppy” after a wave on online criticism accusing the company of encouraging sexual exploitation of children. As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
CNN reports that Hasbro pulled the toy after a petition, circulated online, accusing the toymaker of placing a button that makes the toy talk in a “private area under her skirt,” garnered more than 150,000 signatures.
“The ‘DreamWorks Trolls World Tour Giggle and Sing Poppy’ has a button on her stomach that when pressed will prompt the doll to sing and say phrases like, ‘How about a hug?’” the outlet reported.
Photos and videos posted online, though, show a second button, located between the doll’s legs, “that when pressed will cause the doll to make sounds such as ‘Whee!’ and ‘Oh!’” per CNN. A video, demonstrating the button, has gotten more than half a million views according to the network.
In December 2019, the company came under fire for its “Nerf” brand toy guns. Activists and critics demanded that the toymaker pull the “assault style” toy weapons from shelves.
“As we watch holiday toy commercials, we see the Nerf Ultra One and other extreme Nerf machine guns for children and are reminded of mass shootings that have devastated American children and families for decades now. In these times, the TV ad for this product plays like a Saturday Night Live parody, except that it is not at all funny,” a letter from the Empire State Consumer Project said. “It’s a matter of this being a very vulnerable consumer group. Children buy what they see and we’re not sure this is driven by market demand for assault weapon toys by children or the industry creating the demand.”
In September 2019, Hasbro unveiled a new version of its classic board game “Monopoly” that gives female players an advantage by paying them $40 more for passing go. The new game, called “Ms. Monopoly,” is supposed to be an effort to draw attention to the so-called gender wage gap. As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
CNN reports that “Ms. Monopoly,” unveiled this week, will celebrate “women’s empowerment” by reconfiguring the classic Monopoly board to be more “female-friendly,” including bumping the pay of female players who make it all the way around the board’s list of properties by rewarding them with extra pay. The theory is that women make only around $.70 for every dollar men make in the real world, so Monopoly will give them an advantage.
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