‘Boondocks’ King Episode Prompts Protest Threats from Rev. Al Sharpton

Al Sharpton has nothing better to do.  I think Aaron McGruder had that one pegged correctly.  Because if Martin Luther King was alive today he would be appalled at some of the things “his” people are doing.  I didn’t view this as defamation at all. There are some ignorant people out there, no matter the race, religion, etc.

Boondocks” creator Aaron McGruder is in the midst of another controversy, this one over a Martin Luther King Day episode of the animated version of his hit syndicated comic strip in which the celebrated civil rights leader comes back to life and utters the N-word.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, said McGruder and the Cartoon Network, which aired the episode, desecrated King’s name, and threatened to launch a protest at the network’s corporate headquarters unless there is an apology and a promise not to air the show again.

While I can appreciate Mr. McGruder and his achievements, this particular episode is over the line,” Sharpton said in a statement. “If we don’t receive an apology, we will picket the corporate headquarters.”
In the episode, entitled “The Return of the King,” McGruder depicts the civil rights leader emerging from a coma after 32 years to deal with post 9/11 America in which he quickly becomes “a despised terrorist sympathizer.”

A disillusioned King, a voting rights champion, awakens just before Election Day 2000—when George Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore in a controversial election that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court—and is turned away from a polling place because of “voting irregularities.”

In one scene, Dr. King says, “Will you ignorant n***as please shut the hell up?!”

The episode aired on Cartoon Network Sunday, Jan. 15, King’s birthday, a day before the national holiday in his honor.

“This episode in no way was meant to offend or ‘desecrate’ the name of Dr. King,” the network said in a statement. “We think Aaron McGruder came up with a thought-provoking way of not only showing Dr. King’s bravery, but also of reminding us of what he stood and fought for, and why, even today, it is important for all of us to remember that and to continue to take action.”

McGruder could not be reached for comment.

“The Boondocks” is based on McGruder’s successful comic strip about an eccentric suburban grandfather who becomes the legal guardian of his two grandsons and moves them from Chicago’s South Side to live with him.

McGruder’s groundbreaking strip—which is syndicated in more than 250 newspapers—has drawn fire over the years for its edginess.

In 2003, the Washington Post decided against running a strip that suggested Condoleezza Rice’s single status may be contributing to the continuation of the War on Terrorism.

“Maybe if there was a man in the world who Condoleezza truly loved, she wouldn’t be so hell-bent to destroy it,” a character says.

The following year, a bunch of newspapers dropped the strip for a week when McGruder depicted a fictional Apprentice-like “reality” TV show called, “Can a N***a Get a Job?” hosted by rap music mogul Russell Simmons.

The comic strip has also mocked Whitney Houston’s drug problem, Martha Stewart’s criminal charges and BET’s oversaturation of rap videos.

The TV version made its debut in November, and has been widely criticized for its incessant use of the N-word. “The Boondocks” was all set to make a few jokes about Rosa Parks in an episode last year, but cut the references after the civil rights icon died.

But on the subject of King, there was no change of heart, prompting Sharpton to protest that McGruder and the network have gone too far. Sharpton said the Cartoon Network’s statement is not an apology, and is planning on “moving forward.”

“It’s way over the line to do this to Dr. King,” Sharpton said in an interview. “I don’t think they would have let him do that to an icon in another community. Why should we allow people to be so fast and careless with people in our community?”

“They wouldn’t defame Lech Walesa,” Sharpton said of the network. “They wouldn’t defame Golda Meir. They shouldn’t defame Dr. King.”

Posted by loni on 01/26 at 09:46 AM in Blogging

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