PBS Admits That It Published Fake History Of Betty Boop’s Creation

Discussion in 'Books, Comics and Graphic Novels' started by OckyDub, Sep 16, 2021.

  1. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub I gave the Loc'ness monstah about $3.50
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    What is worth pointing out is when a reputable news source retracts an article that contains misinformation, even if it’s SIX WHOLE YEARS after they published the inaccurate story.

    PBS, the American public broadcaster, has issued an in-depth mea culpa acknowledging that they misled the public by falsely claiming that the Fleischer Studios character Betty Boop was based on a Black child performer named Esther Jones. The theory has since been thoroughly debunked by online researchers, who arrived at the same conclusions that professional historians came to decades earlier after interviewing the Fleischer artists who created and developed the character.

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    While PBS did not create the false story about Betty Boop’s creation, they did republish existing online misinformation without any basic fact-checking. Because of their position as a trusted news source, the story spread like wildfire, and soon appeared across social media and hundreds of websites. Today it has even penetrated mainstream culture (Taraji P. Henson referenced it while hosting the BET Awards this year). PBS, for its part, admits that it did not follow established protocol to retract the story in a timely manner since the PBS Digital team that produced the piece believed it to be “promotional copy, not journalism.” It only took down the story recently after the grandson of Fleischer Studios co-founder Max Fleischer wrote a letter to the broadcaster.

    PBS’s retraction of the story likely won’t have much of an impact on the Betty Boop creation myth, which has taken on a life of its own. Nowadays, most memes claiming Betty Boop was based on Esther Jones use photographs of people who aren’t even the performer in question. A popular example is the one below, which uses a contemporary photo of a Russian model dressed as a flapper.

    [​IMG]

    PBS Admits That It Published Fake History Of Betty Boop's Creation
     
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  2. acessential

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    Man. I used to see this floating around all the time and although I know a lot of shit has been stolen from black people over the years, I had a feeling that this wasn't one of them. Facebook memes appeal to emotion, so I'm always skeptical when one comes across my feed. No matter how plausible it seems.
     
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  3. Winston Smith

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    As an artist who studied a lot of American cartoon history as a kid, I already knew it was false. It's like when black cultural commentators try to make Krazy Kat artist George Herrimann out to be black because his family was "swarthy white" Creole. He never identified as black but mofos keep repeating the misinfo.

    A lot of this represents lazy identity politics on our part and white liberals too lazy to get to know intricate black history. Instead of doing real research and study to discover all the truly great things Black Americans have actually accomplished, many of us love to latch on to Willie Lynch type shit because falsehood is easy and quick to digest and disseminate as you said.

    Instead of trying to get woke about conspiracy theories, people should learn about and promote the history of real black cartoonists and their characters, such as Overton Lloyd and Pedro Bell of P-Funk fame, or early 20th Century Black woman cartoonist Jackie Ormes who was creating her own unique black female characters in the Betty Boop era.

    An Interview with "Pioneering Cartoonists of Color" author Tim Jackson - Evanston Public Library
     
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