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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke March 12, 2021

No, Rachel Levine didn’t say Dr. Seuss books and Mr. Potato Head are bad for kids

If Your Time is short

  • We found no evidence that Rachel Levine has even mentioned Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head.
 

Misinformation about Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head and Rachel Levine, President Joe Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of health, has been prominent on social media lately. One image that’s been shared widely combines all three. 

According to text in the image, which misspells Dr. Seuss, Levine "is telling us that Dr. Suess books and Mr. Potato head are bad for the children."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Dr. Seuss Enterprises recently announced it would no longer publish and license six books by the children’s author that have been criticized for how they depict Black and Asian people. And Hasbro, the company behind the toy Mr. Potato Head, said it was dropping the "Mr." from the product name.

But we couldn’t find any evidence that Levine said Dr. Seuss books and Mr. Potato Head are bad for children. 

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We looked online, we searched the Nexis news archive, we searched her Twitter account, and we reviewed her Senate confirmation hearing and her testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. 

We did find news coverage that mentioned Seuss, Mr. Potato Head and Levine, who is a transgender woman. The Washington Post, for example, reported on the "intensifying battle over transgender rights" and how conservatives are outraged that Hasbro is making the name of the Potato Head line of toys gender neutral.

Considering that "intensifying battle," it would make sense that any comments Levine made about Seuss or the toy would draw widespread media attention. But there’s none. 

We rate this post False.

 

Our Sources

Facebook post, March 9, 2021

PolitiFact, Biden wasn’t involved in Dr. Seuss or Mr. Potato Head changes. They reflect company decisions, March 5, 2021

Rachel Levine Twitter account, visited March 12, 2021

C-SPAN, Confirmation hearing for surgeon general and assistant health secretary nominees, Feb. 25, 2021

Testimony of Rachel L. Levine, M.D., before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Feb. 25, 2021

The Washington Post, Transgender rights emerge as a growing political flash point, March 3, 2021

 

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No, Rachel Levine didn’t say Dr. Seuss books and Mr. Potato Head are bad for kids

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