'Simpsons' Is Anti-Gypsy: Reuters coverage

Maggie Ronkin ronkinm at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 27 16:40:41 UTC 2002

Hungarian Ombudsman Says 'Simpsons' Is Anti - Gypsy
November 27, 2002

Filed at 9:12 a.m. ET

BUDAPEST, Hungary (Reuters) - An episode of the American
television cartoon ``The Simpsons'' reinforces Hungarian
prejudices against its Roma or gypsy population, a rights
official has said.

In a letter to the ViaSat3 commercial channel, Hungary's
minority ombudsman said one episode of the satirical
animated show featured a Roma character who proves his
ethnic origin to a school inspector by saying: ``I will
drink your blood.''

``In this scene, one of the characters declares Roma and
vampires as borderline cases, and ... suggests the Roma in
general cannot conform to social rules and expectations,''
Jeno Kaltenbach wrote in the letter dated November 25.

ViaSat3, which broadcast the episode, said that while the
Hungarian language dubbing followed the original to the
letter, translation in such cases could soften ``offensive
stereotypical expressions.''

The ombudsman examined the case after a private individual
complained, the Roma Press Center said Wednesday.

The Roma are Hungary's largest minority, making up about 5
percent of the central European nation's population of
about 10 million.

``The Simpsons'' executive producer James Brooks apologized
in April to Rio de Janeiro after an episode depicted the
Brazilian city as overrun with rats and monkeys.

Rio's tourist board said it was considering legal action
against the show for undermining its tourist industry.


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