A decision to censor an episode of Cartoon Network’s popular series Steven Universe during U.K. and European broadcasts has inspired a backlash from fans, with thousands taking to the web to express their disappointment and sign their names to an online petition which has garnered over 6,000 signatures as of Sunday, January 10.
Since launching to critical praise in 2013, the magical adventure-comedy series from Adventure Time alumna Rebecca Sugar has proven a hit with both child audiences and adult fans who have lauded the show for its treatment of issues of gender and LGBT positivity. The decision by Cartoon Network’s European division to cut a scene in which two female characters kiss each other from the episode “We Need to Talk” has outraged viewers and a wider community who see the move as an act of homophobic censorship.
Cartoon Network responded via Facebook:
“Cartoon Network (in Europe) often shows amended versions of programs from US originals. The US broadcast system requires that shows are marked with a rating –in this case PG (parental guidance necessary). In the UK we have to ensure everything on air is suitable for kids of any age at any time. We do feel that the slightly edited version is more comfortable for local kids and their parents.”
However, one of the first outlets to bring attention to the controversial edit, Pink News, pointed out in their follow-up coverage that the equivalent U.K. rating of “Universal” allows for characters to kiss and even make references to sexual behavior, as long as there is no “overt focus” on sexual behavior, innuendo or language.
You can view a side-by-side comparison of the edited and unedited scene on YouTube here.