In 1988, Don Wildmon’s American Family Association (AFA) went after Mighty Mouse. The Tupelo, MS group claimed the naughty pixilated mouse had snorted cocaine. Yeah, I know the rodent is hyped up sometimes, but the charge still seems a little bizarre and far fetched.
The cartoon’s creator, Ralph Bakshi, had fallen under suspicion by the AFA because of his role in making an X-rated animated feature, “Fritz the Cat.” However, Bakshi had also won an award for “Mighty Mouse” from Action for Children’ Television.
In the disputed episode, Wildmon charged Bakshi with portraying Mighty Mouse as experiencing drug-induced exhilaration after inhaling the petals of a flower. Mighty Mouse had sniffed cocaine, Wildmon contended.
Bakshi defended his cartoon, insisting that Wildmon had interpreted the scene out of context. However, Bakshi said he was removing the scene because of his concern that the controversy might lead children to believe that what Wildmon was saying was true. Wildmon interpreted the cut differently. “This is a de facto admission that indeed Mighty Mouse was snorting cocaine,” Wildmon said. “We have been vindicated.”
Well, this was the beginning of James Dobson claiming that Sponge Bob Square Pants was gay and the late Rev. Falwell saying that the the purple teletubby Tinky Winky was gay. In terms of nuttiness, Wildmon was way ahead of his time – and the AFA’s crusades rage on today.
(Partially excerpted from the Media Coalition, Christopher M. Finan and Anne F. Castro)