Newsmax host Rob Finnerty decided to use his platform to express anger over his perceived lack of white American Girl dolls in Rockefeller Center. The clip has now gone viral on social media, with Finnerty sharing his disdain over this alleged experience.
“My daughter is just a cute little 6-year-old white girl — we couldn’t find anybody that looked like my daughter,” Finnerty said in the video. “It was—the whole place, it was, like wokeified. How long has this been going on with American Girls? It was somewhat of a bizarre experience.”
As journalist Susanne Ramírez de Arellano noted, even though audiences expect outrageous commentary like this from far-right news organizations, it’s important to acknowledge the role they play when it comes to perpetuating racism.
The Root’s office is located just a few steps from the American Girl store. Our writers and editors pass by it everyday and we can clearly say the store is mostly filled with white dolls.
“Did he stop to think that perhaps all of the white dolls were sold out at the store? Was going on the American Girl website not an option for him? Surely if he did, his panic would’ve subsided,” she wrote. “In the All Dolls section, you must scroll through almost 20 white dolls before you get to a doll of color.
“I also imagine he forgot about the decades that cute, little Black and brown girls could only choose from all-white doll shelves — none of which looked anything like them. Why? Because whiteness was the default.”
More importantly, Finnerty’s comments also fuel the rhetoric of white replacement theory—or the irrational fear that white people will become the minority in the U.S. His “panic” over not being able to find a white doll for his white daughter is another way to push this pervasive narrative onto his followers—as if they need a reason to be racist.
Shortly after Finnerty’s assertions, a TikToker says they went to the same American Girl store and refuted his claims of the absence of white dolls. Apparently, no antics are too lowly for the anchor.