American toymaker Hasbro made a surprising move Friday, announcing that it would be removing the gender of one of its most iconic toy brands, Mr. Potato Head.
The company said that it will be removing the "Mr." from its Mr. Potato Head brand. Hasbro clarified later that the toys under the brand will remain the same. The company's statement came after its initial announcement created confusion over what the "new" toys would look like.
Hasbro, which has been making the potato-shaped toys for close to 70 years, said that Mr. and Mrs. Potato will still exist. However, all of the branding on the box and other media will be changed to just "Potato Head," the company said.
"While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the 'MR.' I am proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren't going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD," Hasbro said in a post on social media.
Hasbro said that it will also be implementing a "modern makeover" to its Potato Head line of toys. This will include a new Potato Head Family kit that will include two potato parents and a potato baby. Kids can use the kit to create "modern families," which include same-sex potato parents.
"Hasbro is 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," Hasbro said.
Hasbro's move to update one of its iconic products is the latest in a line of changes made by toy manufacturers to get with the times. American toymaker Mattel recently shed the "white" and "blonde" image of its iconic Barbie dolls. The toys now come in multiple skin tones and body types. Mattel also released a gender-neutral doll line in 2019.
Fisher-Price also recently added more female characters to its Thomas & Friends product line, while American Girls has added new male dolls to its line-up.
GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group, praised Hasbro's rebranding. The group's communications officer, Rich Ferraro, said that Hasbro will be helping kids to be their "authentic selves" by not being pressured in constraining themselves to traditional gender norms.