The death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police – and the subsequent run of viral videos featuring police brutalizing protesters coast to coast – has led to an unprecedented reckoning about policing in America, one that’s begun to trickle into popular culture.
Cops was taken off the air by The Paramount Network, while A&E has dropped Live PD. Meanwhile, on social media, longtime TV fans are debating which old TV shows are or are not “copaganda.” Law & Order is, of course, as is just about every drama CBS has broadcast in the last 20 years. Is Brooklyn 99? What about The Wire? Or even The Shield? Not the last two, if you ask me.
Has led to an unprecedented reckoning about policing in America, one that’s begun to trickle into popular culture
Then there’s Paw Patrol. For those of you without children, Paw Patrol is a popular kids cartoon, set in a town called Adventure Bay, in which a team of dogs gets together in each episode to save the day. The dogs, not unlike the Village People, all have different jobs: One is a policeman, another a fireman, one a construction worker, and so on. The hidden subtext of each episode is that the adults are crushingly incompetent – including a mayor more in over her head than Bill de Blasio – and therefore need the dogs to repeatedly bail them out.
Now, it appears, Paw Patrol is facing the wrath of the cancel culture police, seemingly determined to eliminate any and all positive depictions of police from popular culture.
Except that’s not really happening, at all.
Here’s What is Happening
On June 2nd, the official Paw Patrol Twitter account tweeted out a call to elevate the voices of creators of color, as well as a vow to mute its account for the ensuing five days.
Some Twitter wags, as is often the case, had some fun with the concept, with jokes like “Defund the paw patrol,” “I hope the cop dog falls into a toaster,” and jokes about the police dog, Chase, being a traitor or worse.
This led to a New York Times article on June 10th with the headline “The Protests Come for ‘Paw Patrol’,” which referenced the tweet and the replies, and stating “It’s a joke, but it’s also not.”
That was bad enough, but the aggregations were even worse, with one local TV station using the headline “‘Paw Patrol’ show, character faces backlash from activists.” The story had changed even more by the time Fox News got a hold of it:
So, let’s be clear: The producers of Paw Patrol have not announced plans to get rid of the Chase character, or anything close to it. There is no movement whatsoever among “activists” to either cancel Paw Patrol or to drop Chase from the show. A few Twitter reply guys making creative jokes does not add up to a real-world political movement. There is no effort whatsoever underway to remove or censor Paw Patrol.