View Full Version : Will SpongeBob Make You Gay?

January 21st, 2005, 06:48 PM

Will Spongebob make you gay?

Two conservative Christian groups are attacking the cartoon character for allegedly being part of a "pro-homosexual video"

Updated: 1:07 p.m. ET Jan. 21, 2005

First it was the spate of the SpongeBob rob jobs from local Burger Kings. Now the little yellow guy who lives in a pineapple under the sea is at the center of a far grimmer controversy, again not of his own making. Two conservative Christian groups attacking the cartoon character for allegedly being part of, as one of them put it, a "pro-homosexual video."

A man named Dr. James Dobson, founder of a conservative Christian group called "Focus on the Family" addressed members of Congress at a black tie dinner in Washington celebrating the president's election victory this week. He advised the group that SpongeBob had been included in a pro-homosexual video which was to be mailed to thousands of elementary schools to push a tolerance pledge by kids, including tolerance of differences of what Dr. Dobson called "sexual identity." Dr. Dobson said most of the favorite cartoons of America's kids were in on the plot, Barney and Jimmy Neutron included.

There is a video. It was broadcast in 2002 and has been revised for distribution to schools in March. It does promote tolerance of diversity, but contains no reference to sex, sexual lifestyle, sexual identity or Paris Hilton.

The eight-page long teacher's guide that accompanies that DVD makes three passing references to same-sex parents. It contains generic advice about what teachers should do if kids ask them about atypical homes— like ones with adoptive parents, step-siblings, or grandparents. Teachers are advised to remind kids that everybody's family is different, but they're all based on love.

Dr. Dobson's press spokesman says he's not sure whether or not Dr. Dobson has seen the SpongeBob video, but he has been briefed on it. And an assistant says the group stands by its claim, and says, "We see the video as an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids. It's a classic bait and switch."

Bait and switch, a fish reference for an underwater cartoon. Clever.

Though the revised "SpongeBob and Friends tape," which is to be distributed to the schools, is not supposed to be released until March, we've gotten a hold of the advanced copy from the "We Are Family Foundation," which produced it. It is a foundation created by the man who wrote the disco hit of 1979, "We Are Family." Below is the whole thing, with the caveat that if the folks from Focus on the Family are right, it could make you, your children or maybe your furniture gay. Or tolerant.

By the way, not only did I not see any sexual identity in that, I didn't even see very much of SpongeBob either. Although Winnie the Pooh wasn't wearing pants.

Mark Barondess, the lawyer for the "We Are Family Foundation" told "The New York Times" that any critics of the video "need medication."

We here found it hard to argue with him.

January 21st, 2005, 09:21 PM
The Los Angeles Times: January 21, 2005

Yellow and Porous and Outed

So SpongeBob SquarePants is gay. You think your small children, who may be glued to the TV set this morning, were just enthralled by a talking yellow sponge in suit pants. You'd be wrong. Actually, they are being brainwashed by a vast network of gay cartoon characters bent on destroying civilization as we know it.

SpongeBob isn't alone. Tinky Winky was the first to be "outed." Tinky may have seemed just like those other three fuzzy Teletubbies, harmless enough except for their uncanny power to send adults screaming from the room. Think again: Tinky is purple. His antenna is a triangle, the gay pride symbol, and he carries a purse-like bag. Get it?

Here's how we learned about SpongeBob.

"Does anyone here know SpongeBob?" Dr. James Dobson asked darkly, addressing a black-tie audience at one of Tuesday's inaugural events. Dobson is the founder of Focus on the Family, one of the nation's most outspoken conservative Christian groups. SpongeBob holds hands with his starfish pal Patrick, and likes to watch the imaginary television show "The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy." Evidence enough, to Dobson at any rate, that the guy's a menace.

SpongeBob's rep is that he's a nice guy — a pushover even — who tries to get along with everyone, even Squidward, his gruff neighbor. The Sponge has indeed become something of a camp figure among gay men. But his nice-guy mien is what prompted an educational-film maker to star SpongeBob in a short video for young children about multiculturalism called "We Are Family." The video promotes a "tolerance pledge" for schoolkids that could extend to sexual identity.
One person's definition of tolerance is another's "pro-homosexual" agenda. "We see the video … as manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids," Dobson's spokesperson told the New York Times on Wednesday. "It's a classic bait and switch."

Chiming in, a homosexuality detection expert at the similarly conservative Family Research Council called words like "tolerance" and "diversity" part of a "coded language that is regularly used by the homosexual community."

Forget prime-time raunchiness — Janet Jackson's pixelated nipple or Nicollette Sheridan's towel drop on "Monday Night Football." The real threat lurks in the morning cartoons.

So don't get us started on Jimmy Neutron. Or Mr. Rogers, one of whose signature phrases was, suspiciously, "people can like you just because you're you."

Copyright 2005, The Los Angeles Times

January 21st, 2005, 09:27 PM
The LA Times editorial is full of classic quotes, but here's my favorite:

Chiming in, a homosexuality detection expert at the similarly conservative Family Research Council called words like "tolerance" and "diversity" part of a "coded language that is regularly used by the homosexual community."

Yes, I always knew that tolerance and diversity would lead to the moral decay of society, and this proves it! Good Grief, Charlie Brown . . . oops, probably something not good I'm not aware of. Hmm, what's the truth behind Mickey and Minnie Mouse? Is Minnie simply Mickey's crossdressing alter ego? Egads! Bar the door and cancel Nickelodeon. The Barbarians are coming . . . and they are us!

January 22nd, 2005, 10:57 AM
I wonder what the pay is like for a "homosexuality detection expert". :lol:

January 22nd, 2005, 12:01 PM
Threats to the American way of life (partial list):

Osama bin Laden
The Taliban
Saddam Hussein
French Fries
Kim Jong Il
Tinky the Teletubby

I'm sure Donald Duck is worried. Don't be surprised if he starts wearing pants.

January 22nd, 2005, 10:28 PM
Don't forget Ernie and Bert.....

January 23rd, 2005, 01:51 AM
January 23, 2005


A Bunch of Krabby Patties


I should have known.

I can't believe I thought he was just an innocent little sponge wearing tight shorts.

What in the name of Davy Jones's locker would a sponge be doing holding hands with a starfish or donning purple and hot-pink flowered garb to redecorate the Krusty Krab if he weren't a perverted invertebrate?

Before this is over, we're going to find out that SpongeBob is the illicit spawn of the Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge. Who knew SpongeBob would become as fraught as the cover of "Abbey Road"?

It took Dr. James Dobson, the conservative Christian leader and gay marriage opponent, who claims the president's re-election was more a mandate for his ideas than George Bush's, to point out the insidious underside of the popular cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants. It takes a sponge to brainwash a child.

Holy Abe! Dr. Dobson outed SpongeBob at a black-tie inaugural fete last week for members of Congress and political allies. He said that a "pro-homosexual video" - starring SpongeBob, Barney, Jimmy Neutron, Winnie the Pooh, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy - was set to go to elementary schools to promote a "tolerance pledge," including tolerance for differences of "sexual identity."

Hoppin' clams, as they say in Bikini Bottom, the den of epicene iniquity where SpongeBob lives. Nothing good can come of tolerance.

Dan Martinsen, a spokesman for Nickelodeon, where SpongeBob beats the pants off the competition, was flummoxed: "It's a sponge, for crying out loud. He has no sexuality."

Dr. Dobson has done the country a service by reminding us to watch out for the dark side of lovable but malleable sponges. He inspired me to fish through the president's Inaugural Address with a more skeptical eye.

Mr. Bush's epic pledge to support democratic movements and institutions in every nation and to end "tyranny in our world" may seem wildly pie-in-the-sky, given that the Iraq vortex has drained our military.

Although his incendiary speech about "the untamed fire of freedom" has been widely interpreted as a code-red warning to both foes and friends, I wonder if the president knew he was literally promising to stamp out undemocratic governments across the globe, which would include some of our top allies. He probably thought it was a fancier way of repackaging the Iraq invasion, not as a failed search for W.M.D., but as a blow for freedom (a word used 27 times) and liberty (used 15 times).

I wonder if W. is surprised that people took it literally. The Bushes don't always understand that they're being held to their rhetoric in major speeches. (Read my warships.) For such a brass-knuckled vision, the president's delivery was curiously unemotional.

Some of the same advisers who filled Mr. Bush's brain with sugary visions of a quick and painless Iraq makeover did mean the speech to be literal; they are drawing up military options for the rest of the Middle East. Once again, the lovable and malleable president seems to be soaking up the martial mind-set of those around him, almost like ... a sponge.

SpongeBush SquarePants!

We can only hope that Dr. Dobson doesn't pick up on the resemblance. SpongeBob, as his song goes, "lives in a pineapple under the sea/absorbent and yellow and porous is he!" SpongeBush lives in a bubble in D.C./absorbent and shallow and porous is he!

SpongeBush ensnared the country in a whale of a mess in Iraq because he guilelessly absorbed the neocons' dire warnings about Saddam's weapons capabilities and their rosy assumptions about Ahmad Chalabi's leadership capabilities.

Dick Cheney is a gruff Mr. Krabs taskmaster to SpongeBush, but SpongeBush is crazy about him anyhow. W. trustingly let his vice president make the worst-case scenario about Iraq a first-case scenario.

Mr. Bush might have thought he was just blowing pretty bubbles full of lofty ideals about freedom and liberty in his speech, but Mr. Cheney and the neocons seem intent on filleting Iran and Syria. (Doesn't Richard Perle remind you of the snarky and pretentious next-door neighbor to SpongeBob, Squidward Tentacles?)

The vice president told Don Imus that Iran was "right at the top of the list" of trouble spots, and that Israel "might well decide to act first" with a military strike.

Even if he's a little light in the flippers, SpongeBob has brought children good, clean fun. SpongeBush has brought the world dark, endless fights.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

January 24th, 2005, 11:33 PM
This is hilarious:

First they came for Bert and Ernie

...and I said nothing because I was not a Muppet.

Then they came for Tinky Winky, and I said nothing, because I was not a Teletubby.

Then they came for Sponge Bob and Patrick, and I said nothing, because I was not an asexual cartoon sea creature.


January 26th, 2005, 01:44 PM
LA Times: January 26, 2005

SpongeBob and Friends: Splendor in the Kelp
Under the waves, the teeming ocean is one kinky place.

David Helvarg is president of the Blue Frontier Campaign, editor of the Ocean and Coastal Conservation Guide (Island Press, 2005) and author of "Blue Frontier -- Saving America's Living Seas" (Sierra Club)

James Dobson of Focus on the Family has tossed a new harpoon in the culture wars, claiming that SpongeBob SquarePants is being used to promote a homosexual agenda. He doesn't know the half of it.

When it comes to sex outside of marriage, the oceans that cover 71% of our planet are rife with reproductive strategies and behaviors that would make Caligula, or even Bill Clinton, blush.

SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg, who has a background in marine biology, had to be aware that in creating a cartoon sponge he'd be opening himself up to charge of marine-based immorality. Sponges can reproduce asexually, for example. And if Dobson's followers don't object to that, I'm sure they'll be distressed to learn that they also can be hermaphrodites. Single sponges not only produce both sperm and eggs but are broadcast spawners, indiscriminately releasing sperm in such profusion as to turn seawater smoky white.

Life in the sea, in fact, is largely about reproduction, not traditional family values.

Take the blue crab, pound for pound one of the most fearsome creatures on the planet, yet when the female undergoes her molt of puberty, she releases a scent that makes the male's aggression dissipate like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the presence of Maria Shriver. They'll then copulate for between 10 and 48 hours before regressing to single-crab combat.

The sex life of the blue crab raises the question, do marine organisms have orgasms? Which leads to related questions such as, do they need to? And how does that make you feel when you order a tuna fish sandwich?

We don't really know how much fun blue crabs or tuna are having. We do know that many species of fish vocalize, or at least produce sounds from within their bodies, at the moment they "broadcast their gametes."

And that's only the beginning. Certain species, like blue-headed wrasses, are transgender. They all start out as females; some then flip a hormonal switch in order to function as males when they spawn together.

Groupers also go through sex changes, but slowly over time. They start out life as females but as they grow older and larger they become males. Unfortunately, with people catching a large percentage of the larger fish, the remaining groupers tend to be female with few opportunities to meet guys and make baby groupers.

Of course, when we're considering the sex lives of fish, its hard not to notice that the males of some larger fish species, including rays, sharks and sawfish, have what appear to be two penises. Actually, these are modified anal fins called claspers. Their owners have just one penis — it's internal, but it empties into these claspers, one of which is inserted into the female. The extra clasper bangs loose on the side of the animal. The scientific explanation? It's good to have spare parts.

What about our fellow mammals? Because dolphins are intelligent, sociable and have jaw structures that make them appear to be smiling, we like to think of them as peace-loving and playful. The bottlenose dolphin of "Flipper" fame, however, has a sex life less like that of a hippie than that of a Hells Angel.

Male bottlenose dolphins will form alliances of two to four in order to isolate and have sex with a single female they like. They'll keep other males away while repeatedly copulating with her for several weeks at a time.

The terminally cute sea otter is a marine weasel into rough sex. The male otter's arms (legs, whatever) are effective for grooming their fine pelts or cracking shells on the rocks they place on their bellies, but they are too short for getting a good grip on a mate. So the male gets firm purchase by biting down on the female's nose before going for a little splendor in the kelp.

Afterward you can often spot the females hauled up on rocks along the shore, their fur matted and their noses bloody. It's not hard to imagine that a female with a heavily scarred nose might get a reputation as an easy otter.

Whatever you think about these marine animals as role models for American youth, we owe them, big-time. Their populations have been decimated by hunting, overfishing and ocean pollution. We're now catching fish faster than they can employ their reproductive strategies, with 75% of the world's edible wild fish maxed out or in a state of collapse. Even sponges have been over-harvested.

It's that kind of reckless disregard for life's unique, sexy and profound diversity that I'd call the real sin against creation.

2005, The Los Angeles Times

January 26th, 2005, 03:17 PM
If only they'd arrive on the scene soon enough to save me from that recruiting transvestite Bugs Bunny.


I might be living a normal life right now!

January 26th, 2005, 07:40 PM
January 27, 2005

Culture Wars Pull Buster Into the Fray


Buster has visited live human friends of all varieties in 24 states.

Buster says goodbye to winter and hello to spring at a Christmas tree bonfire with a Vermont group, including a lesbian couple at right rear.

Wayne Godwin, chief operating officer of PBS, got a bit tangled as he tried to explain the PBS stance on gay characters appearing on children's television shows.

"In fairness I would have to say a gay character is not one we would not include," he said, and then clarified. "The fact that a character may or may not be gay is not a reason why they should or should not be part of this series."

Yet on Tuesday PBS decided not to distribute to its roughly 350 PBS stations an episode of "Postcards From Buster," which was scheduled for Feb. 2 and included lesbian mothers, even though a few days earlier PBS officials, among them PBS's president, Pat Mitchell, viewed the episode and called it appropriate. That was before Education Secretary Margaret Spellings denounced the program, starring Buster Baxter, a cute animated rabbit who until now has been known primarily as a close friend of Arthur, the world's most famous aardvark. Ms. Spellings said many parents would not want children exposed to a lesbian life style.

Buster joined another cartoon character, SpongeBob SquarePants, as a focus of the nation's culture wars. SpongeBob was recently attacked by Christian groups for being pro-homosexual, though SpongeBob's creator said it was all a misinterpretation. Buster's offense was appearing in "Sugartime!," the undistributed "Postcards From Buster" show, in which he visits children living in Vermont whose parents are a lesbian couple. Civil unions are allowed in Vermont.

"Postcards From Buster" is a spinoff of "Arthur" that combines live action and animation and went on the air a year ago. In the series, aimed at young elementary schoolchildren, Buster travels to 24 different states with his father and sends video postcards home.

Buster appears briefly onscreen, but mainly narrates these live-action segments, which show real children and how they live. One episode featured a family with five children, living in a trailer in Virginia, all sharing one room. In another, Buster visits a Mormon family in Utah. He has dropped in on fundamentalist Christians and Muslims as well as American Indians and Hmong. He has shown the lives of children who have only one parent, and those who live with grandparents.

Marc Brown, creator of "Arthur" and "Postcards From Buster," said in a statement: "I am disappointed by PBS's decision not to distribute the 'Postcards From Buster' 'Sugartime!' episode to public television stations. What we are trying to do in the series is connect kids with other kids by reflecting their lives. In some episodes, as in the Vermont one, we are validating children who are seldom validated. We believe that 'Postcards From Buster' does this in a very natural way - and, as always, from the point of view of children."

Jeanne Hopkins, a spokeswoman for the show's producer, WGBH-TV of Boston, added, "We feel it's important that we not exclude kids because of what their family structure looks like." WGBH plans to broadcast the episode in March and offer it to other PBS stations.

Like the grown-ups in most of the episodes, the lesbian mothers in the "Sugartime!" segment are mainly background. "The concern really was that there's a point where background becomes foreground," Mr. Godwin said. "No matter if the parents were intended to be background, with this specific item in this particular program they might simply be foreground because of press attention to it and parental attention to it."

The question is, does the episode violate the grant under which WGBH received federal funds? Mr. Godwin said, "The presence of a couple headed by two mothers would not be appropriate curricular purpose that PBS should provide."

The grant specifies the programs "should be designed to appeal to all of America's children by providing them with content and characters with which they can identify." In addition, the grant says, "Diversity will be incorporated into the fabric of the series to help children understand and respect differences and learn to live in a multicultural society."

Brigid Sullivan, vice president for children's programming at WGBH, has been producing children's shows for 20 years, including "Arthur," for many years the top-rated children's show. "This asked for a project on diversity to all of America's children," she said. "We took it seriously and thought that with 'Arthur,' the No. 1 show on television for kids for years, we had something to draw kids in. Buster is Arthur's best friend, the child of divorce, he has asthma. Children sympathize with him. We had a breakthrough format, this animated bunny with his camera getting live-action sequence. Not to present a make-believe world of diversity but a real world."

Explaining the goal of the show, Ms. Sullivan said: "We want to reflect all of America's children."

"This is not about their parents," she said.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

January 27th, 2005, 05:03 PM
It boggles my mind how issues of true importance, like the thousands of civilian Iraqis that have died as a result of American strikes or the Abu Ghraib/Guantanamo Bay barely register on some people outrage meters or in the press, but silliness like this and nipplegate seem like such a huge deal.

January 27th, 2005, 09:32 PM
If one can keep occupied with and distracted by trivia, then avoidance and denial are much easier.

January 28th, 2005, 11:15 PM
Cartoon Star SpongeBob SquarePants Has No Gay Agenda


Fri Jan 28, 1:48 AM ET

By Jan Dahinten

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - SpongeBob SquarePants, the wacky cartoon character who sparked a gay alert warning by U.S. Christian conservative groups, is neither gay nor straight.

He is asexual, says his creator.

At least two Christian activist groups said the innocent and hugely popular cartoon character SpongeBob and his best mate Patrick Starfish are being exploited to promote the acceptance of homosexuality.

SpongeBob's creator, Stephen Hillenburg, 43, said the allegations are far-fetched and his agenda does not go beyond fun and entertainment.

"It doesn't have anything to do with what we're trying to do," Hillenburg told Reuters in an interview on Friday, two days before the Asian premiere of the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in Singapore.

"We never intended them to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual. We're just trying to be funny and this has got nothing to do with the show."

Naive SpongeBob, who lives in a pineapple under the Pacific Ocean, was "outed" by the U.S. media in 2002 after reports that the Nickelodeon TV show and its merchandise were popular with gays.

Influential U.S. radio evangelist James Dobson, among whose top political issues are opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion rights, said last week SpongeBob had been included in a "pro-homosexual video."

"Their inclusion of the reference to 'sexual identity' within their 'tolerance pledge' is not only unnecessary but it crosses a moral line," said Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family.


SpongeBob is one of the stars of a music video due to be sent to 61,000 U.S. schools in March. The makers -- the nonprofit We Are Family Foundation -- say the video is designed to encourage tolerance and diversity.

Hillenburg, a marine-science-teacher-turned-animator who lives in Hollywood and is married with a 6-year-old son, says he thinks there are "more important issues to worry about."

"I really don't pay much attention to this."

Such allegations were common in the history of cartoon and children's entertainment, he said.

"Just think of 'Laurel and Hardy' or 'Ernie and Bert'," he said, referring to two popular American comic icons -- the former from the 1930s and latter from the U.S. television series "Sesame Street."

In 1999, Britain's Teletubbies were cast into sexual controversy by a U.S. religious leader who warned parents to be alert to subtle messages from Tinky Winky, one of the four androgynous characters, singled out for his purple color and a triangular antenna on his head, both symbolising gay pride.

Nickelodeon, part of global media firm Viacom Inc., has made 60 episodes since SpongeBob's birth in 1996 and is working on another 20. It says the series is a big hit in Indonesia and has been translated into Hindi, Korean and Japanese.

Hillenburg, who produced and directed his first SpongeBob movie, has employed stars such as Alec Baldwin (news) and Scarlett Johansson to voice some of the characters while Baywatch personality David Hasselhoff (news) has made a non-cartoon appearance.

February 3rd, 2005, 12:03 PM
How could anyone really take this complain seriously? it's a cartoon for goodness sake.

February 16th, 2005, 09:41 PM
dear no! its a gay sponge!

ok, firstly, he's a SPONGE. he has no reproductive organs, brains, or sexual orientation.

yeah, and secondly, who cares if he's gay? i mean, what's WRONG with that? a lot of your so-called godly priests have no problem displaying their sexual orientation when it comes to alter boys.

thirdly, IF he is gay, isn't it GOOD to educate the kids about that? so they don't become homophobic neo-nazi fascists?

yeah. take that, homophobes.

- w00t for educated and opionated 14 year olds.

Rem 311 JHF
June 7th, 2005, 11:24 AM
I Watch Sponge Bob all The Time w. My 3 YO Son When He Comes Over on The Weekends and It Hasn't Turned Me Into a Gay Person,Why are You Considering him to be GAY?!,Is It Because He's Always Hanging W. Patrick and You Hardly Ever see him w. A Woman?!,LOL!!

bohemian rhapsody
June 17th, 2005, 03:08 AM
How could anyone really take this complain seriously? it's a cartoon for goodness sake.

Because tolerance and diversity will be the downfall of our great nation... we must work swiftly to prevent the peaceful co-existence of heterosexuals and homosexuals.

June 17th, 2005, 10:51 AM
Because tolerance and diversity will be the downfall of our great nation... we must work swiftly to prevent the peaceful co-existence of heterosexuals and homosexuals.

Indeed, break out the nooses, and we can have an old-fashioned lynching. Just grab the nearest homo.

June 17th, 2005, 02:55 PM
Indeed, break out the nooses, and we can have an old-fashioned lynching. Just grab the nearest homo.

You sure he would not like being grabbed?

Or hung well?

OK, enough of that....