The most popular Hollywood couple making headlines isn’t Brad and Jen. It’s SpongeBob and Patrick. The popular cartoon characters from the Nickelodeon hit show SpongeBob SquarePants have been accused of being “more than just friends” by Christian groups Focus on the Family and the American Family Association. These organizations have recently complained that a children’s video, which features the cartoon duo, along with others such as Bob the Builder and the Muppets, is actually gay propaganda.
The groups point out that SpongeBob has a large fan base among homosexuals, possibly due to the fact that SpongeBob and Patrick often hold hands and watch a TV show called “The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.”
The video was produced by Nile Rogers, founder of the We Are Family Foundation and a lyricist who wrote the Sister Sledge disco hit for which the group was named. Rogers intends for the video to be distributed to 61,000 elementary schools across the United States as a means of teaching kids about diversity and tolerance. Sexual orientation is not one of the issues discussed in the musical message, yet Focus on the Family insists that the video is manipulating and brainwashing children.
Some people have questioned the cartoon characters’ sexual orientation; others have outright attacked the idea that the pair is homosexual. Some people believe the “gay bashing” of cartoon characters is too reminiscent of the stigma attached to gay human beings.
Then again, it wasn’t too long ago that a certain purple Teletubby, Tinky Winky, was ridiculed by Christian organizations as being an overly-feminine homosexual character. But, somewhere between the stuffed purple Tubby and the four-sided pants of the cartoon character, shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Will & Grace have been making TV more “gay friendly” to an extent.
The progress of homosexuals on TV hasn’t been enough to prevent another stab at destroying a cartoon character’s career.
The video is scheduled to be distributed on March 11, 2005 in conjunction with the proposed National We Are Family Day, according to the official Web site www.wearefamilyfoundation.org. Other organizations involved with the musical video’s production include the Anti-Defamation League, Scholastic Entertainment, Disney Channel, and Sesame Workshop.
Lisa Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.