Japan crisis sparks Simpsons nuclear disaster ban
from The Telegraph
Posted originally 29 March 2011
Broadcasters in Germany, Australia and Switzerland have decided to ban or censor episodes of The Simpsons that poke fun at nuclear disasters in light of Japan’s atomic emergency.
“We are checking all the episodes and we won’t show any suspect ones, but we won’t cut any scenes,” Stella Rodger, a spokesman for German private broadcaster Pro7, said. “We haven’t postponed any yet.” Austria’s ORF network has so far banned a total of eight episodes, including one that features scientists Marie and Pierre Curie dying of radiation poisoning. Switzerland’s SF network has done the same.
The nuclear plant in the Simpsons’ hometown of Springfield is a key element in the long-running satirical cartoon, with the hapless Homer in charge of safety despite a slapdash approach evident from the opening credits onwards. Previous episodes have shown nuclear waste dumped in a children’s playground, plutonium used as a paperweight, cracked cooling towers, luminous rats and three-eyed mutant fish, as well as near-meltdowns.
“Of course we can’t completely change the entire content,” Ms Rodger acknowledged. Surveys show that people in Germany are particularly uneasy about the dangers of nuclear power, with shipments of radioactive waste regularly attracting angry protests.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of people – 250,000, according to organisers – took part in demonstrations around Germany protesting against nuclear power in light of events in Japan. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced earlier this month a three-month moratorium on plans to extend the operating times of Germany’s nuclear plants and ordered that the seven oldest reactors be shut down.