For more than 70 years, their cat-and-mouse capers have enthralled young people across the globe. Violent, hilarious and often somehow poignant, Tom and Jerry’s only crime has until now been to encourage children to watch tele-vision when they should have been doing their homework, tidying their bedrooms or performing some other worthwhile task.
This week, however, they fell foul of the censors at Amazon, which seems to have taken its lead from Cromwell’s Puritans. The company says Tom and Jerry cartoons must carry a warning that ‘they contain some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society’.
The particular focus of Amazon’s reproach is the portrayal of the black maid in the cartoons, known as Mammy Two Shoes because only her lower half ever appears on the screen. Her character, apparently, is nothing more a crude racial stereotype. ‘Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today,’ states Amazon.
Amazon says Tom and Jerry cartoons must carry a warning that ‘they contain some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society’