SpongeBob SquarePants Accused of Being ‘Violent, Racist’ and ‘Problematic for Young Children’

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Spongebob Squareparents is one of the most famous kids shows on television.

We don’t know about you, but tuning in to watch the drama of Bikini Bottom unfold pretty much sums up our entire childhoods.

It’s pretty much ingrained in our heads…

The popular cartoon has run for an impressive 250 episodes since then.

The enduring fame of SpongeBob shocked many. It became an instant hit with kids, but the show’s sneaky, subversive adult humor also made it watchable for parents. It was a win-win for moms and dads everywhere!

Set in the fictional town of Bikini Bottom – somewhere ‘under the sea’ in the Pacific Ocean, the show follows a group of friends and their enemies.

This trio are the most central characters to the show’s plot, which aims to educate young people while keeping them laughing and entertained. But there’s also the underwater squirrel, Sandy, and of course Mr Krabbs and his rivalry with Plankton over the secret ingredient to the famed Krabby Patty.

Hillenburg began his animation career in 1987, studying Experimental Animation at the California Institute of Arts in Valencia before he earned his Master of Fine Arts in 1992.    

From there, he began winning awards and became a director and writer on Nickelodeon’s Rocko’s Modern Life

This was before he began working full-time on writing, producing, and directing the animated series that would eventually become SpongeBob SquarePants. Sadly, he tragically passed away last year, aged fifty-seven.

Bikini Bottom first made its box office debut in 2004 with aptly named The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie. The movie was a hit, grossing an impressive $140 million in global revenue.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water hoped to give the franchise a boost and it certainly did the trick, taking home a respectable $323 million at the global box office. It also showcased Spongebob and Co in a newly re-vamped 3D animated form.

That Spongebob SquarePants is a pretty big deal.

But in more recent times, it seems that certain people are finding things very wrong with the show.

And she has accused it of being “violent” and “racist” – which is a very topical subject at the moment.

University of Washington anthropology professor Holly M. Barker drew parallels between the children’s cartoon and the past use of the Marshall Islands for American nuclear testing.

According to the New York Post, the mythological town of Bikini Bottom was paralleled to the aftermath of the Second World War, in which the US military moved natives off a constituent island of the Marshall Islands named Bikini Atoll so as to test nuclear weapons in the area.

Barker’s article appeared in journal The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs under the title “Unsettling SpongeBob And The Legacies Of Violence On Bikini Bottom.” “Billions of people around the globe are well-acquainted with SpongeBob Squarepants and the antics of the title character and his friends on Bikini Bottom,” she wrote.

“By the same token, there is an absence of public discourse about the whitewashing of violent American military activities through SpongeBob’s occupation and reclaiming of the bottom of Bikini Atoll’s lagoon,” Barker said. “SpongeBob Squarepants and his friends play a role in normalizing the settler-colonial takings of indigenous lands while erasing the ancestral Bikinian people from their nonfictional homeland.”

“The detonations do not cause concern for the characters, as they did for the Bikinians, nor do they compromise SpongeBob’s frequent activities, like visiting hamburger joints or the beach with friends.”

Barker then wrote that her article aimed to expose the “complicity of popular culture in maintaining American military hegemonies in Oceania while amplifying the enduring indigeneity of the Marshallese people, who maintain deeply spiritual and historical connections to the land — even land they cannot occupy due to residual radiation contamination from US nuclear weapons testing — through a range of cultural practices, including language, song, and weaving.”

“Despite being presented as a nonsensical and harmless cartoon, SpongeBob shapes global perceptions of the actual place called Bikini and calls it ‘disturbing’ that the show’s creators did not understand that Bikini Bottom and Bikini Atoll were not theirs for the taking.”

But Barker hasn’t yet received any agreement or support in her claims, so only time will tell if the producers of the show will respond to her accusations.