Daily Wire podcaster Matt Walsh has positioned himself as the anti-LGBTQ public morality police, leading an effort to boycott Target over false claims the company was promoting tuck-friendly bathing suits for children. So observers might be forgiven for raising their eyebrows at the Daily Wire marketing a plush figure of Walsh clothed only in a diaper, which the website claims “is the perfect statement piece … for your kids to play with.”
The figure, labeled the “sweet baby plushie,” costs $24.99 and is marketed as having “limited quantities available.” The Daily Wire also sells a “Sweet Baby Gang Repeat T-shirt” (on sale at press time for $10.49) featuring Walsh’s diapered likeness, “available for all members of the Sweet Baby Gang.”
What on Earth, you might ask, is the “Sweet Baby Gang”? The ad copy does not do much to clear up the matter, saying mysteriously, “If you haven’t heard of Sweet Baby Gang by now, then you probably don’t deserve to.” A sold out “Sweet Baby Gang” patch says somewhat ominously that “Rule #1 of Sweet Baby Gang” is “don't talk about Sweet Baby Gang.”
So naturally, I went looking.
The Sweet Baby Gang is what Walsh’s fans — the same group of people who on October 21 of last year held a “rally to end child mutilation” in Tennessee — call themselves. Walsh’s show sometimes includes special sections for members of the Sweet Baby Gang to write in and ask for advice. According to a separate video, members of the Sweet Baby Gang call Walsh “Sweet Daddy,” with one fan going as far as to tattoo the phrase and image on their body and others allegedly responding to a call for an “official Sweet Baby Gang anthem” with “hundred of submissions.” (Content warning: The video below features Daily Wire host Michael Knowles saying “yes, daddy” to Walsh.)
Beyond his use of a diaper-clad image for merchandise, Walsh also has an odd history of content involving diapers. One video posted on the YouTube page of The Matt and Crank Program, which he co-hosted from early 2010 through August 2011, shows the then-radio DJ judging a diaper wrestling competition between two adult men, whose names are listed as “Intern A” and “Tater.” (A large tattoo of a swastika is visible on “Tater’s” back at multiple points in the video, in line with Walsh’s public identification as a “theocratic fascist” and jokes about Nazi book burnings from early in his career.)
Although he is the father of six children, Walsh seems somewhat less enthusiastic about diapers when used for their intended purpose, complaining in multiple tweets about changing diapers, stating that he’d prefer his wife handle them without informing him, and then claiming that he has never actually changed a diaper.
The What is a Woman filmmaker also has a history of eye-raising sexual comments about minors. In old comments resurfaced by Media Matters, Walsh said, “Girls between the ages of like 17 and 24 is when they're technically most fertile. … At about 16, you're an adult who is mature and can make decisions — you are that at 16. I don't care what anybody says.” A deleted post from Walsh’s previous blog called the concept of adolescence “a modern plague,” claiming inaccurately that “adolescence isn’t a product of brain chemistry — it’s a product of our expectations. If we expect 23 year olds to act like they’re 13, then we will get just that.” The Daily Wire later spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads downplaying Walsh’s teen pregnancy comments and claiming that he was the victim of a hit piece by liberals, with the company’s other on-air personalities vouching for his work “exposing their transgender madness.”
Walsh has also argued that 12-13-year-old girls who get pregnant should be forced to give birth so that the baby can be used as evidence of abuse, defended the Duggar family over accusations of sexual abuse, and in 2015 said, “If my own son, God forbid, came to me and admitted to doing what Josh Duggar did, I don't know that I'd immediately run to the cops.” (Josh Duggar admitted to molesting two of his younger sisters and was sentenced last year to 151 months in prison for the possession of child pornography.)
Walsh is significantly less forgiving of LGBTQ people who violate his strongly held sense of what is appropriate. The Daily Wire personality recently called for a trans woman to be thrown in prison for breastfeeding her child, claiming that “it’s a fetish.” Walsh has called LGBTQ teachers “groomers,” adding, “There is no heterosexual person demanding this sort of thing on the other side.” He’s also complained that “we’re filling the military with crossdressers,” called for the execution of doctors providing gender-affirming care, demanded that police drag away drag queens “in handcuffs” for performing in front of minors, and suggested raising taxes to build more prisons to satisfy his punitive fantasies.
The Sweet Baby Plushie remains available from the Daily Wire store, with a discount available for those wanting to purchase “twins.”