‘It’s not a Bible!’ GMB guest fumes over Beano character change in cancel culture row

GMB guests clash over Beano character name change

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Good Morning Britain was hosted by Richard Bacon and Charlotte Hawkins on Wednesday morning and the presenting duo discussed some of the big news stories of the day. They welcomed journalist and diversity advocate Dr Ateh Jewel onto the programme alongside sociology academic Dr Frank Furedi, to debate a recent controversy surrounding a children’s comic. The Beano has faced criticism for changing the names of some of the comic’s iconic characters after they were deemed to be politically incorrect. The pair discussed the topic on the ITV show, debating whether or not its right for the comic to change the names of its iconic characters.

Introducing the segment, Richard explained Beano have changed the name of a character called “Spotty” to “Scotty”.

However, he noted this isn’t the first time the comic has amended some controversial names of its characters.

The presenter asked: “Is it really necessary to change the name of a character that’s been in a comic since 1954?”

“Totally, definitely, yes,” Ateh replied, insisting that the change was important.

“I think every generation has a responsibility to revalue, relook and redefine who we are and what our values are,” she explained.

Ateh noted she was keen to set a good example for her own children: “It’s up to us to define what is acceptable.

“I have 10-year-old twin daughters, I want to teach them kindness and compassion.

“Normalising and giving permission to this kind of bullying and objectifying language just isn’t acceptable,” she said.

However, Frank hit back: “I think it’s very silly to look at Beano in this way. The Beano is not a Bible!

“The Beano is really about pushing boundaries and kids really enjoy reading about kids who are breaking rules and having fun and being mischievous.

“The important thing to realise is that when children look at Beano they don’t say ‘Oh, they called someone Spotty therefore I’m going to go and call somebody else Spotty.’

“They can make a difference. They can distinguish between what they see and what they laugh about and their own lives.

“I think we’re being extremely censorious when we imagine that somehow we have to clean up and sanitise Beano,” he commented.

“Isn’t it sort of just about an example in the end?” Richard chimed in.

The presenter added: “We’re just in a different time and a different era and things are more sensitive at the moment aren’t they?”

Ateh made it clear she disagreed with Frank’s comments and insisted children could copy language they see in comic books.

She explained: “Language is important, language is powerful. I have 10-year-old children.

“I have got children on the playground now where people are talking about diets aged nine.

“People are talking to my kids saying ‘You’ve got to be really skinny to be successful.’

“This is important because adverts, comics, everything we are reflecting is giving people permission and telling people who we are as a culture.

“I don’t want that message going out to my kids. Let’s have something about kindness and compassion,” Ateh added.

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.

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