Hide Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.

South Korean Animators Protest Banksy Simpsons Opening… Which They Animated

from the the-simpsons... dept

You may remember the attention paid recently to the Banksy-created opening of the Simpsons, which (among other things) portrayed animators working under sweatshop-like conditions, to produce the cartoon. We had mentioned it after Fox issued a DMCA takedown on the video, which had been uploaded to Banksy’s account. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but that YouTube video is back up:

That said, what may be more interesting is this story about how the South Korean animators who did, in fact, animate that opening sequence protested the whole thing, and pushed back until at least some of the sequence was changed. I will admit that my first impression on hearing about it was to think that Banksy confused North Korea with South Korea, and that does appear to be what some others have said as well. While it is true that South Korean animators make less than American animators, it’s hardly “sweatshop” conditions. Still, in the end, the animators animated the sequence in question, but are making it known that they don’t think the depiction is fair.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “South Korean Animators Protest Banksy Simpsons Opening… Which They Animated”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Naturally… but the question is if it IS revealing a truth. Obviously the details were frivolous, but was the core message frivolous too?

Clearly it was trying to convey the fact that a bunch of Koreans suffer to bring westerners their esoteric joys – the “dark underpinnings” of a bright, fun world like the Simpsons.

Is that true? It has always been my understanding that South Korean animators take their jobs very seriously, that the studios are run by extremely talented people, that a mutual respect exists with the american production houses that hire them, and that the gruntwork of drawing thousands of frames for fairly low pay is simply how you crack into the industry (similar to entry-level jobs in countless other industries in South Korea)

Now, maybe I’m way off too… I really don’t know a lot about the issue – and neither do most people watching the Simpsons. So my question is: did Banksy totally misrepresent the situation? Did he exaggerate to communicate a truth, or did he create an entirely false message with that exaggeration?

Newf says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Fair, life is not fair, get over it

Reminds me of a joke . ..

A drunk Newfie was stumbling home one day when he got lost and found himself in the bush. He fell to the ground and noticed a lamp. He picked it up, and rubbed it, and out came a genie.

“You have three wishes, choose them wisely.” says the Genie.

The Newfie, looking down at his last, and empty, bottle of beer, smashes it on some rocks and says, “I want a beer that will never run out.”

A bottle appears in front of the Newfie. He takes it, looks at it, and downs it. He looks at it again, and to his surprise, it was still full. The Newfie being very content starts walking away.

“Where are you going,” asks the Genie, “You still have two wishes left!”

“Well,” replies the Newfie, “Give me TWO more of these!”

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Get over it!

Yes, the Simpson’s is about comedy, but it has also always been about satire, and it has always featured tackled difficult themes and controversial topics without being afraid to make statements on them. Culturally, it’s an extremely powerful force.

The creators are also very protective of their work. Never before has an outside artist been brought in to work on their opening credits – the extremely iconic opening credits that stood unchanged for 20 years until they were redone in the last season.

Then they brought in Banksy – a highly controversial artist known for his political statements – and gave him nearly-free reign on designing a couch gag for that sacred credit sequence. That, to me, is a statement of support from the creators for Banksy’s message.

I would be pretty disappointed in The Simpsons creators if they gave such a rare venue over to a misleading message – one that misrepresents the very people they work with to create the show they are so proud of – just for the shock value.

out_of_the_blue says:

Still unsure of your point with this.

“the country’s animators still make one-third the salaries of their American counterparts” — Simpsons producers pocket the other two-thirds. (And that’s after increases: articles has a hint of much lower wages — besides that it’s for *for-hire*, no royalties.)

Is ONE-THIRD not “sweatshop” enough for you? Or are you just having trouble understanding that the South Korean animators naturally don’t want to see themselves as exploited?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Still unsure of your point with this.

Do you or do you not understand that all countries do not have equal wages?

Why the hell do you think Canada pushes to keep its dollar below US parity? Because a lower dollar draws in more US business.

But I’m sure us poor Canadians feel terribly “exploited” too. How dare those snobby Americans use our cheaper labour to bolster our economy!

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: Still unsure of your point with this.

“no, the US wages are just over inflated to the point of not being able to compete in the market”

This is the inherent contradiction of “capitalism”:
The producers of The Simpsons get TENS OF MILLIONS for doing almost nothing yet you’re concerned that the LABOR costs which *actually* produce the products sold are too high.

Justin says:

Re: Re: Re: Of course...

You fall under one ideology or the other whether you like it or not. If you don’t think so and you think you just look “issue by issue” then you should take a look a where those issues lie and likely that will be the ideology you fall under.

Either you believe that more government (stronger at the federal level) is good (more services, more regulation, etc) … or you believe that less government (less services, regulation, intrusion).

Here is an infograph to help http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/left-vs-right-world/

If you don’t believe any of this any you’re “voting for the person”, we might as well have American Idol instead of elections.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t see a problem here. It wasn’t so important that they quit their jobs over animating it, but it is important enough that they’ll add the caveat that they don’t agree with its message. That seems perfectly reasonable to me. If one day I come into work and my boss tells me to do something that isn’t unethical, but I still don’t agree with, you bet I won’t /quit/ over it! But, I might express my displeasure with it. I mean, its my right as an employee to complain endlessly about my job! I do it all the time!

Anonymous Coward says:

Exactly who is protesting the opening? It sounds like animators:

“veteran animator Nelson Shin”

But then reveals

“The iconic cartoon propelled his production company Akom..”

So, the owner of the animation studio is objecting that his company is being compared to a sweatshop. I’m sure the owners of all sweatshops objecting to having it pointed out that they run a sweatshop. Of course at least the employees aren’t (probably) being exposed to toxic chemicals.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...