As the clamor to defund police forces grows nationwide, anti-police sentiment has gone to absurd lengths.
In an editorial for the New York Times, Amanda Hess notes that virtually no aspect of American culture is safe from cop-cleansing, even children’s television.
Though it appears to be a joke, even “Paw Patrol,” a children’s show on Nickelodeon that features puppies in all manner of public servant roles, including police, has found itself in protester crosshairs:
…Last week, when the show’s official Twitter account put out a bland call for “Black voices to be heard,” commenters came after Chase. “Euthanize the police dog,” they said. “Defund the paw patrol.” “All dogs go to heaven, except the class traitors in the Paw Patrol.”
It’s a joke, but it’s also not. As the protests against racist police violence enter their third week, the charges are mounting against fictional cops, too. Even big-hearted cartoon police dogs — or maybe especially big-hearted cartoon police dogs — are on notice. The effort to publicize police brutality also means banishing the good-cop archetype, which reigns on both television and in viral videos of the protests themselves. “Paw Patrol” seems harmless enough, and that’s the point: The movement rests on understanding that cops do plenty of harm.
The pandering tweet calling for the amplification of “melanated voices” received a cascade of backlash.
Some were clearly jokes—we hope.
— anti-fascist alex (@anarchy_alex420) June 2, 2020
You know what must be done pic.twitter.com/8y8W41ehH6
— hhhhuuuujj (@hhhhuuuujj) June 10, 2020
Please remove Mayor Grover Goodways golden statue from outside City Hall, as it is rumoured that his great grandfather once looked at a blood diamond during his time doing conservation work in Angola. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/xQZH9uJl9P
— warren (@warren00761692) June 10, 2020
Some were, sadly, not jokes.
you’ve already brainwashed a bunch of kids into thinking law enforcement is a noble and just profession. better to scrap production forever if you want to make lasting change
— piteously in ecstacy 🕊 (@bathwaterbad) June 2, 2020
Perhaps naming your main character police dog “chase” is a bit tone deaf to the suffering of people who have actually been on the receiving end of dogs used as weapons by the police. My 3 year old calls his stuffed Chase “Jace”.
— Laura C. Bernardo (@LauraCarmella) June 3, 2020
“The protests arrived in the midst of a pandemic that has alienated Americans from their social ties, family lives and workplaces,” Hess explains, noting the perfect storm the coronavirus lockdowns have placed us in for such a phenomenon to occur. “New and intense relationships with content have filled the gap, and now our quarantine consumptions are being reviewed with an urgently political eye. The reckoning has come for newspapers, food magazines, Bravo reality shows and police procedurals.”
Last week, Tom Scharpling, an executive producer of the hit TV show “Monk,” denounced the portrayal of police on television, saying, “If you — as I have — worked on a TV show or movie in which police are portrayed as lovable goofballs, you have contributed to the larger acceptance that cops are implicitly the good guys.”
Griffin Newman, who has appeared as a detective on two episodes of the show “Blue Bloods,” donated his $11,000 in earnings to a bail fund, inspiring other actors who have played cops to open their wallets as well. A&E announced that it has canceled its reality show “Live PD.”
On Tuesday night, “Cops,” the show that Hess says “branded suspects as ‘bad boys’ and spawned the whole genre of crime reality television,” was canceled after 32 years on the air.
Even LEGO has hit the brakes on marketing on its upcoming “LEGO City Police Station” and “Police Highway Arrest” sets.
In a recent report, nonprofit anti-racism watchdog Color of Change analyzed television depictions of the police determined that modern cop shows “make heroes out of people who violate our rights.” Many of them, the organization argued, show the “good guys” committing more violations and misdeeds than the “bad guys,” making police misbehavior feel “relatable, forgivable, acceptable and ultimately good.”
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