But that’s where she went after causing an uproar on anime social media.
Referencing Cartoon Network’s recently announced plans to revitalize its previous live-action endeavors, Friedman echoed comments made by Tom Ascheim, Warner’s recently deceased president of Children’s, Young Adults and Classics, in saying, “Girls come out of animation often. Some of our most amazing contestants have been in the live game for a long time. We know that’s what girls want. With live action, we’re excited to reflect the world as it is, inviting girls without alienating boys.
The reaction to his words was swift and decisive.
Lauren Faust, writer-director-producer of classic animated series, including The Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friendsand DC super hero girls, among others, was not happy about it. She tweeted:
Western Animation doesn’t give girls what they want. We give them toy commercials and lectures on how society expects them to behave. Why would ANYONE OVER 8, female or male, want all of this? Girls don’t “graduate from animation” early. WESTERN ANIMATION does not give older girls what they actually WANT. I’ve been in this business for 28 years and the statement “girls don’t watch anime” has NEVER gone away. Only small windows of open-mindedness which disappear immediately with a single show of girls not popular enough. No number of failed boy cartoons would ever cause studios to abandon the boys as viewers.
amphibians creator and executive producer Matt Braly expressed his exhaustion at hearing the same thing over and over again:
So tired of this take – it’s based on outdated data collection methods and a self-fulfilling prophecy to boot. Here’s an idea: stop thinking in terms of gender demographics. Like the toy industry, all it does is reinforce stereotypes and unnecessarily force children into hallways.
Lea Carosellaassistant animatic editor on Invincibleposted pictures of Encanto, The Legend of Korra, Infinity Trainand Miss Wonder to argue that Friedman’s comments were irrelevant:
I think Cartoon Network misspoke and meant that the executives responsible for making creative decisions are “done” with wanting to make cartoons for girls. Because for me, it is quite clear that the problem is not the lack of interest. It’s a lack of inclusion and a lack of faith. Like shit. Children can tell when they are not wanted in certain spaces or are being thought of. I wouldn’t want to watch your cartoons either and would gravitate elsewhere too if it never seemed to speak to me at all. Also, if it wasn’t clear, this post is ironic. The point of all of this is that THEY are the ones who aren’t interested in creating content for the demographic they claim isn’t interested.
Patrick’s Star Show and Sponge Bob SquarePants character creator by Chris DeRose opinion on the matter got more than 32,000 likes and was retweeted 3,500 times. He included pictures of Steven Universe, She-Ra, Amphibiaand The owl house to underscore his argument:
“Girls often graduate from animation” Are you sure? Like… are you REEEEEEEAAAAALLLLY sure about that?
Viral Youtuber (2.13 million subscribers) illymation was flabbergasted:
This tweet from Cartoon Network claiming “girls are graduating from animation” has me perplexed this morning. I grew up on CN—Powerpuff Girls, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Maybe the problem isn’t the girls, but the lack of shows that include them.
There are countless other tweets expressing similar concerns about Friedman’s misguided comments, many of which we haven’t included here because they used vocabulary not suitable for an anime news site.