Fact Check: Dr. Seuss Enterprises Did NOT Cancel 'The Cat In The Hat' When It Withdrew Six Titles From Publication

Fact Check

  • by: Olivera Perkins
Fact Check: Dr. Seuss Enterprises Did NOT Cancel 'The Cat In The Hat' When It Withdrew Six Titles From Publication Not on List

Has the Dr. Seuss book, "The Cat In The Hat," been "canceled"? No, that's not true: "The Cat In The Hat" is not among the six titles Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced March 2, 2021, that it would no longer publish because some portrayals of people in the books were "hurtful and wrong." The company owns the rights to Dr. Seuss books, which are published by Penguin Random House.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) published March 2, 2021. The post contains an image, based on the book cover of "The Cat in the Hat," across which "CANCELLED" is stamped in bold, black letters. The poster doesn't specifically refer to the book's title in the text of the post. However, the post is written in a style similar to that found in the children's book, which contains rhyming language often spoken in a sing-song cadence. The Facebook post opened:

They canceled your feelings

They canceled your thoughts

They canceled the Dr. Seuss

Books that you bought

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Mar 3 16:11:02 2021 UTC)

The Seuss-inspired Facebook post commenting on "cancel culture" continued:

We'll cancel your culture
And history they said
They even canceled
Poor Mr. Potato Head

They'll cancel your clothes
And the shoes that you wear
They'll cancel your opinions
And the style of your hair

You warriors of justice
I ask you to please
Stop trying to cancel
The air that I breathe

For I live in America
The Land of the Free
And one thing is certain
YOU WON'T CANCEL ME!!!!

On March 2, 2021, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it decided last year, in consultation with a panel of experts, that it would no longer allow for six titles to be published as part of "our mission of supporting all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship." A statement on the company's website says:

We are committed to action. To that end, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, working with a panel of experts, including educators, reviewed our catalog of titles and made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of the following titles: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat's Quizzer. These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.

As the list shows, "The Cat in the Hat," which places among the most popular Dr. Seuss titles, is not among those no longer to be published.

A March 2, 2021, AP article on the topic gave examples of what has been deemed offensive content in some of the six books books:

In "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," an Asian person is portrayed wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks, and eating from a bowl. "If I Ran the Zoo" includes a drawing of two bare-footed African men wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads.

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  Olivera Perkins

Olivera Perkins is a veteran journalist and fact checker at Lead Stories, who has covered a variety of beats, including labor, employment and workforce issues for several years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. Olivera has received state and national awards for her coverage, including those from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW). She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Read more about or contact Olivera Perkins

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