In September 2019, a screenshot of an article titled “Nintendo facing backlash for Mario’s signature hat resembling a MAGA hat. Should they change it?” circulated in Facebook groups amid complaints about overly sensitive readers and viewers.
One of the earliest shared iterations stemmed from an August 15 2019 Tumblr user’s screenshot of the same item, alongside the comment: “For fuck sake.” That Tumblr post was reblogged hundreds of times, and attracted commenters largely agreeing that the purported backlash amounted to terminal oversensitivity:
Fucking Democratics !!!!!!
This is one of the stupidest things i’ve ever heard of
Done in by a hat 😅😅😅😅….no chance in a real world fight
Pretty sad they don’t understand that it’s actually Maga hats that look like Mario’s hat
Facebook commenters were similarly chagrined at the purported complaints:
I can’t believe how much this shit pisses me off!!!
What the actual F. Santa have to change too? Get a grip
They’ve done it. They’ve proven me wrong, that they can’t get any more ridiculous. Super Mario Bro’s has been around longer than me, and I’m almost 35. Get over yourselves!!!
In all reposts of the image we found, nearly all user comments on the screenshot indicated that the commenters believed the claim was legitimate. On occasion, a commenter queried if the headline was “real,” but those remarks were few and far between amid widespread ire over the headline.
I’ve found out #Nintendo is facing backlash because Mario’s red hat is similar to the “Make America Great Again” hat. DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG MARIO HAS HAD A RED CORDINATED OUTFIT? LONG BEFORE TRUMP DID!
Because growing up I didn’t know Mario’s hat symbolizes to racism.#SuperMario
— əɐɾ (@itsjaydenlevi) August 20, 2019
That the headline image circulated in screenshot form, as usual, likely exacerbated the issue. Posts about it were not typically accompanied with any link or text to copy, merely the original poster’s commentary. Because of this, readers had to attempt to find the article itself, versus images of it without links, in order to read its content or find out more about its legitimacy — and it appeared most, as usual, did not.
The article was published by NPCDaily.com on August 15 2019. Complete with a purported quote by an offended Nintendo user, it began:
Ever since Trump took office, red hats provoke fear and anxiety in marginalized groups. Nintendo should step up and adapt.
It’s no secret that since Trump took office in 2016, there’s something intrinsically racist and bigoted about red hats. Trump’s infamous “Make America Great Again” hat sparks fear in those who are unprivileged and who don’t hold xenophobic views.
The resemblance between Mario’s M hat and Trump’s MAGA hat is uncanny. For this reason, Nintendo is facing scrutiny for not altering Mario’s hat to something more progressive or tolerant. Even though Mario’s appearance can change slightly in Super Smash Bros., critics say this simply isn’t enough.
At the bottom of the page was a widget requesting reader donations, a “share bar” with buttons for several social networks, and a form to subscribe to the site’s email alerts. Underneath all that in smaller text was the following message:
The creator of NPC Daily. The mastermind behind the entire NPC Daily movement. Yes, this entire website is satire and not meant to be taken seriously. It’s for fun. Chill. See “about” page for more details. Now that we got that taken care of, repeat after me: “Orange man the absolute worst.”
And underneath that clear disclaimer was one of three comments:
seriously? No way liberalism has stooped so low as to change a classic game characters attire. Ignorance! And my kids won’t be seeing frozen ll nor will they be watching mulan …. kids do not need to learn liberal ignorance about sexual identity, nor do they need to worry about a red hat. It means nothing not even if it has MAGA on it!
NPC Daily advised readers to visit its “about” page, which said, once again, “NPC Daily pokes fun of modern journalism and liberalism” and “our content is totally fictitious and is created to elicit laughs and bemusement.” Those agitated by and angrily sharing the article seemed to share the site’s stated disdain of “liberalism,” but the site didn’t seem to be successfully sharing in “laughs and bemusement” with its offended intended audience. Treading further into irony in its attempt to mock the easily offended, it provoked an easy reaction in the very group targeted in sharing — not being satirized by — its “humor.”
We were not able to find one sharer of the “Nintendo facing backlash for Mario’s signature hat resembling a MAGA hat” article sharing it in a “laughs and bemusement” fashion, nor did any of those commenting appear to get the joke. Nevertheless, the article was labeled an attempt at parody satirizing the easily offended.