In response to a complaint by a single viewer, British media regulator Ofcom said Turner Broadcasting has offered to delete scenes that "glamorize smoking" in cartoons from earlier decades, when such scenes were commonplace. According to Reuters, the change was instigated when a single viewer complained to Ofcom about two scenes in two Tom and Jerry cartoons (one scene in each) shown on Turner's Boomerang channel in England, 56 percent of whose viewers are aged four to fourteen.
As a result, a Europe-based representative of Turner Broadcasting said the firm will "voluntarily" go through the entire inventory of cartoons owned by the firm, as reported by Ofcom in its news bulletin, according to Reuters:
"We are going through the entire catalog," Yinka Akindele, spokeswoman for Turner in Europe, said on Monday.
"This is a voluntary step we've taken in light of the changing times," she said, adding the painstaking review had been prompted by the Ofcom complaint.
This applies only to Great Britain at this time, as far as I can ascertain.
Interesting how times change, isn't it? In the 1950s, top-rated I Love Lucy was sponsored by a cigarette company, and the firm and network insisted that Lucy be seen holding a cigarette as often as possible. (Of course, it is debatable whether Lucille Ball can be said to have been capable of glamorizing anything at that time. . . .) Requirements that sympathetic characters smoke cigarettes and villans not smoke at all or smoke pipes or cigars were common practice throughout television at that time.
Such strictures applied even on the Camel News Caravan, a network news program, where Winston Churchill could not be shown holding a cigar.
Today, the situation is reversed: sympathetic characters do not smoke cigarettes, and villains do. It's a better lesson, I suppose, but one sometimes wonders why we all have to be treated like children because the federal and state governments will not allow the media to trust parents to teach their kids that smoking cigarettes is a very bad and unnecessary risk.
From Karnick on Culture.