With its tiny legs stuck firmly into place, a new bobblehead of Congressman George Santos will have a hard time scurrying away from its inspiration’s cornucopia of falsehoods—or from pesky reporters who have questions about them.
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee—and yes, that’s a real thing!—debuted two bobbleheads of George Santos on Wednesday: both featuring the embattled lawmaker’s signature crewneck sweater, one with an extended nose to represent the many, many, many lies he has told about his resume and personal life. (College volleyball star? A part on “Hannah Montana?” Grandmother died in the Holocaust? Come on).
The bobbleheads will include a button that plays at least five audio clips of him telling these fibs, says Phil Sklar, Co-Founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, who adds that the final product could recite more lies that “haven’t been unearthed yet.”
Unlike bobbleheads born from admiration—think sports stars, like Washington Wizards fashion legend Kyle Kuzma—the decision to create Santos bobbleheads was made in response to the harm his lies have caused. “The tipping point was the dog charity GoFundMe news that came out,” says Sklar, referencing Santos’ alleged snatching of $3,000 from a dying dog’s surgery fund he promised to raise money for. (On Twitter, Santos posted that “The reports that I would let a dog die is shocking & insane.”)
Seeing the bobbleheads as a way to “make something bad, good,” Sklar and his team have identified 10 legitimate GoFundMe campaigns for dog-related causes, though they have yet to finalize the list. Their website will eventually have links to the campaigns themselves so people can donate directly.
Sklar says the original idea for a Santos bobblehead came from the public, with the Hall receiving a half-dozen requests. One visitor to the museum suggested an exaggerated nose, a la Pinocchio. The bobblehead’s face is modeled after Santos’ official Congressional portrait, and its wardrobe is inspired by the suits he wears in videos of him running from journalists, a getup that Sklar says is “representative of what the public has seen of him.”
Including audio in a bobblehead is rare, says Sklar, who estimates that 1 in 100 bobbleheads have the feature. The design team debated including the feature before concluding that hearing Santos’ lies directly from the source could have value by encouraging people to more thoroughly vet candidates for public office.
This isn’t the first time the Hall has used bobblehead sales to benefit a charitable cause. A line of 35 pandemic heroes bobbleheads—including Dr. Anthony Fauci, state governors, and essential workers such as nurses and janitors—raised $300,000 that was mostly donated to the American Hospital Association’s “Protect the Heroes” campaign. Sklar says that Fauci bobbleheads are his organization’s bestselling figurines of all time, followed by one of a mitten-clad Bernie Sanders folding his arms at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The Santos bobbleheads are currently available for pre-order with an expected ship date in May, which Sklar says is standard turnaround time for a process that includes initial design, rounds of edits, production, and shipping. Asked if the public could expect a future bobblehead in the likeness of Santos’ alleged drag queen alter ego, Katara Ravache, Sklar doesn’t rule the possibility out. “We’ll see how this one does,” he says.