The “Transformers” franchise is known for many things: catch phrases, like “Autobots, roll out”; garish Michael Bay movies; the battle between good and evil robots who can turn into various kinds of vehicles. One thing it is not known for is full-throated support for Donald Trump’s polarizing agenda.
As io9 reports, one eagle-eyed Twitter user discovered this week that the acronym MAGA – shorthand for Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” — somehow ended up hidden on one of Hasbro’s new “Power of the Primes” Transformers toy line.
The message, found on a toy of the classic character Jazz, was somewhat cleverly disguised by being written in extremely small letters in Cybertronian, the fictional language of the Transformers from their home planet, Cybertron. See it below, just before the insignia of the good-guy Autobots.
Why do you put Cybertronic text on here so small it can't even render clearly? The only letter I can clearly make out is A. pic.twitter.com/jzu4toOHIb
— Chris (@chrisrtxv) November 17, 2017
The lettering is so small causal observers wouldn’t even notice, and they’re also pretty hard to make out. But Cybertronian characters used in “Transformers” movies and cartoons are well-known to hardcore fans and available online in wikis and other resources, and so it is that another Twitter user took a stab at the translation, though, and discovered the four characters on the car spelled out Trump’s famous slogan: “MAGA.”
I better be wrong about this pic.twitter.com/ePWyvumRQy
— Gherkin 🥒 (@TheLastGherkin) November 17, 2017
Apparently, it’s the real deal, and it’s no accident.
“It was brought to our attention that a graphic appears on one of our Transformers figures that, when translated from Cybertonian letters to English, spells out MAGA,” Hasbro said in a statement to io9. “We investigated the issue, and discovered that one of our vendors inserted this as part of the design without authorization. We are addressing this with the vendor.
“We do not intend for our products to carry political messages, and apologize to anyone who was offended by this message.”
So it seems Hasbro has the issue in hand, but one has to wonder what the Trump supporter working at the unnamed vendor’s master plan was. If the hope was to secretly sway kids into supporting Trump, this hidden message involves kind of a lot of steps. First, the kids have to recognize that the super-small characters on the car are Cybertronian; then they have to make them out, which itself is pretty difficult; then they have to go online and translate then; and then they have to like Jazz, the break-dancing Transformer, enough to internalize the message.
Not really the most effective way to inspire the next generation of Decepticons.