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WGBH ‘disappointed’ in explicit ‘Arthur’ memes

Some social media users have created explicit memes using the popular children’s character Arthur.WGBH AND MARC BROWN STUDIOS via Associated Press/Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — WGBH, the Boston-based network behind the animated series ‘‘Arthur’’ is disappointed that social media users are combining images from the long-running children’s show with explicit situations and language.

A spokeswoman for WGBH said in a statement Wednesday the ‘‘Arthur’’ network appreciates that several internet memes ‘‘have been created and shared in good fun’’ but are ‘‘disappointed by the few that are outside of good taste.’’

The bespectacled aardvark Arthur and his friends have been featured in an array of mature internet memes distributed over the past week casting the cartoon characters in various scenarios involving sex, drugs and race.


While many users have employed an image of Arthur’s clenched first to jokingly suggest frustrating experiences, such as splitting checks at a restaurant, others have used the show’s visuals to suggest an incestuous relationship between Arthur and his sister or other sexual situations. One clip dubbed a scene from the cartoon with sexual and racial language.

‘‘Our hope is that Arthur and his friends will be depicted in a way that is respectful and appropriate for all audiences, including young Arthur fans and their families,’’ said WGBH spokeswoman Ellen London.

The nearly 20-year-old Emmy-winning show is based on the children’s book series by Marc Brown, who did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment about the internet memes.

‘‘Arthur’’ debuted in 1996 and continues to air on PBS stations. The educational series often tackles intrapersonal issues and has featured episodes dealing with asthma, dyslexia and diabetes.

‘‘We certainly are lucky to have a fan base that is so engaged with Arthur, especially those millennials who grew up with him,’’ said London.