Rugrats offends watchdogs
Created 10/22/1998 - 23:00
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization devoted to fighting anti-Semitism, has taken issue with the depiction of a character in Nickelodeons Rugrats newspaper comic strip. The comic in question, which ran in newspapers nationwide during the week of Rosh Hashanah--the Jewish New Year--featured a character named Granpa Boris in a synagogue reciting the Mourners Kaddish, a holy Jewish prayer. In a public statement issued this week, the ADL stated the use of the Mourners Kaddish in a jocular fashion demeans the prayers solemnity, and added that the character design of Granpa Boris is reminiscent of Nazi-era depictions of Jews. Nickelodeon was quick to agree with ADLs charges, apologize, and has promised never to run the character or the specific strip in newspapers again. Herb Scannell, president of Nickelodeon, said, Unfortunately, the creators of the strip made an error in judgment by referencing the Kaddish. While he wont be reappearing in newspapers, the short, bald and big-nosed Granpa Boris character is also featured in the Rugrats television series and the upcoming animated feature film, The Rugrats Movie. However, Nickelodeon has not been asked to change the character in its animated versions.