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Multiple Years / Speedy Gonzales Deemed Politically Incorrect
Speedy Gonzales, the cunning cartoon Mexican mouse that could run at blazing speeds, was first introduced by Warner Bros. in 1953. (Mel Blanc provided Speedy's voice.) By 1999, however, the Cartoon Network ceased to air Speedy Gonzales. In an interview with Fox News on March 28, 2002, Cartoon Network spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg commented, 'It hasn't been on the air for years because of its ethnic stereotypes.' This is widely believed to refer to Speedy's fellow mice, who are all shown as being very slow and lazy, and sometimes even appear intoxicated. This is particularly true of Speedy's cousin, Slowpoke Rodriguez, who is exceptionally slow and lazy. In one cartoon, titled Gonzales' Tamales, the town mice instigate a feud between Speedy and Sylvester the Cat because Speedy has been stealing the hearts of all the females. Much of the dialogue between Mexican characters is in English and the small amount of Spanish that peppers the dialogue consists of basic greetings, goodbyes, exclamations, and misplaced references to popular Mexican foods. Criticism prompted the Cartoon Network to largely shelve Speedy's films when it gained exclusive rights to broadcast them in 1999. However, fan campaigns to put Speedy back on the air and lobbying by the League of United Latin American Citizens saw the shorts return to air in 2002. Ironically Speedy Gonzales remains a very popular character in Latin America. In Mexico, Speedy Gonzales cartoons have been part of the regular programing of Televisa's Canal 5 national channel ever since it was created. In 2010, a Looney Tunes New Year's Day marathon on the Cartoon Network showed the episode 'Mexican Boarders' featuring both Speedy and Slowpoke. On the Looney Tunes Golden Collection, the Speedy cartoons are prefaced by a disclaimer that states: 'The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the WB view of society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as to claim these prejudices never existed.'