Last week, Kenya’s Film Classification Board (KFCB) banned seven cartoons on Nickelodeon, Disney XD and Cartoon Network for intending “to introduce children to deviant behavior” including Adventure Time, Steven Universe, The Legend of Korra, Loud House Hey Arnold!, Clarence and Star vs the Forces of Evil
According to channel24.co.za, KFCB says:
“Kenya’s constitution only recognizes marriage between people of the opposite sex. From these references to the Kenya Constitution 2010, it is clear that homosexuality is not part of the culture, national values and the concept of a family. Indeed, the Kenyan government has a responsibility to protect children against harmful exposure to negative media content and this is what the KFCB is doing as part of its mandate.”
Let’s take a closer look at these cartoons to see what made them so objectionably gay in the eyes of the KFCB:
The Loud House
Time to make history indeed! First married gay couple on a Nickelodeon cartoon!https://t.co/CI5NPmd7JU
— not juno 🐓 (@harryetIouis) July 16, 2016
This Nickelodeon cartoon features two interracial same-sex dads raising a 10-year-old boy. The KFCB said, “While the program does not make a big deal out of the fact that this couple is homosexual, we find that this is a veiled attempt by the creators of the show to pass off this kind of relationship as normal.”
Star vs the Forces of Evil
In February 2017, this Disney show featured the Disney Network’s first-ever same sex kiss as two male characters smooched in a quick romantic segment. The KFCB adds, “In yet another episode, two lesbian couples are seen cuddling.”
The Legend of Korra
In the show, Korra is a “bender” who can manipulate natural elements like water, fire, earth and air and Asami is a non-bender. In the very last scene of the series, the pair holds hands, gazes into each other’s eyes and then walks through a portal to the spirit world together.
Although Adventure Time‘s characters of Princess Bubblegum and the vampire Marceline never actually date or make out, one of the show’s creators has said that the two were once in a relationship, but that they did not show any scenes confirming their same-sex attraction because of homophobic laws forbidding such images in other countries.
Rebecca Sugar’s intergalactic adventure show depicts two lesbian couples: Ruby and Sapphire (two “Crystal Gems who regularly fuse together”), and Pearl and Rose Quartz. (Rose Quartz is actually the titular character’s mother and is bisexual).
The KFCB commented, “The creator of the show explains the reason as to why she put gay characters in the series is that you can’t wait for children to grow up to let them know that queer people exist.”
Even though Disney reportedly censored a lesbian couple and a transgender symbol from an episode of Gravity Falls back in 2014, it later featured two gay cops. But the KFCB said, “The jokes in the cartoons are adult-oriented. For example, one cartoon calls the other ‘bitch’ and [at another point there is allegedly] porn watching.” The website channel24.co.za calls the KFCB’s claims in this case “a lie.”
In its weirdest explanation of a cartoon’s supposedly gay content, the KFCB says, “Arnold’s grandpa had a dick for a head – [his] head is in the shape of a penis and somewhere in the scene there is a poster written ‘try my sausage.'”
While one can certainly trace a penis on of the face of Arnold’s grandpa, the show’s creator Craig Bartlett said this was quite unintentional, calling the show’s character style “grotesque … lumpy and funky,” and adding, “I just basically drew them because I thought they were funny. I didn’t mean to ruin childhoods.”