Universal Vulgar Holiday Merch Exposed as Viral Hoax

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Credit: ITM

As Halloween time meets its all-hallowed end for the year, many amusement parks have switched out their jack-lanterns and spider webs for candy canes and garlands. The Christmas season is just as pivotal a period financially. Although this season does not rake in its money with immersive mazes, it more than makes up for it with themed merchandise. So when Universal Studios’ latest Christmas item went viral for a supposed vulgar misprint, numerous fans were shocked on social media. However, this profane merch featuring one of the most adorable holiday mascots has recently been exposed as a hoax.

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Credit: @dustinart, via instagram

Just as Figment has become a beloved niche character for Walt Disney World, Earl the Squirrel has become one of the most popular unsanctioned figures at Universal Orlando. The mischievous woodland creature was not a purposefully designed character that went through countless executive test phases. His creation stemmed from a misfortune that occurred during the yuletide season in 2015.

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Credit: ITM

The legend of Earl the Squirrel began in the backlot of the park. Several Universal team members noticed that all the blue lights to their massive Christmas tree had blacked out. They searched for the source of short-circuit and came across wiring with multiple bite marks. The staff determined it must have been a squirrel. This tale of a squirrely saboteur spread so much through the resort that the creative team inserted a statue of the fuzzy tree-dweller holding blue lights.

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Credit: Universal Orlando

This in-house folklore gradually became a seasonal classic for guests when many noticed that the squirrel ornament moved to various Christmas trees all over the park. The figure morphed into a cult icon at Universal as diehard guests turned the squirrel’s ever-changing rest spots into a scavenger hunt. His rising popularity had the company creatives make him the unofficial mascot of the holiday season with the name — Earl the Squirrel.

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Credit: Universal Orlando

By 2020, the inaugural Holiday Tribute Store presented Earl with his own section called Earl’s Tree Farm. This area was not only a merchandising opportunity, but offered themed food and drinks. This was such a success with guests that the following year Universal Orlando opened Earl the Squirrel’s Christmas Curios Museum and Emporium. The new cartoonishly campy location was filled with Earl-themed merchandise such as houseware goods, Christmas décor, plushes, and clothing. Another major addition was making Earl a meet-and-greet character.

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Credit: ITM

***WARNING: THIS GRAPHIC MAY BE CONSIDERED OFFENSIVE***

Universal Orlando’s wholesome Christmas creation left many fans in utter disbelief as new children’s t-shirt merchandise had a crude phrase emblazoned on shirts with the adorable icon. Yet, the viral picture depicting the gaffe has finally been exposed as a photoshopped faked:

This convincing fake duped many social media users, but the ultimate confirmation that the merch was not real was that the actual t-shirt was located here on the Universal Orlando store website. Luckily, the innocent persona of Earl the Squirrel remains unimpeached as the Christmas Critter will help rein in the holiday spirit at the Universal Orlando Resort this season.

What do you think of this viral hoax? Did you think it was a misprint? Is Earl the Squirrel the best holiday mascot for Universal?

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