clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Why some people are calling 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' racist, bigoted and 'seriously problematic'

The navigational prowess of “the most famous reindeer of all” illuminates Santa Claus’ way in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Photo: © Classic Media copyright:© 1969 Golden Books
The navigational prowess of "the most famous reindeer of all" illuminates Santa Claus' way in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Photo: © Classic Media copyright:© 1969 Golden Books
Classic Media, CBS Entertainment

SALT LAKE CITY — The Huffington Post might have just changed the way we look at “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

What’s going on: The news organization shared a video last week that explained how the holiday TV classic might be “seriously problematic.”

  • As you might remember, the classic story tells the tale of a reindeer who is mocked and alienated by other reindeer at the North Pole. He eventually saves the day, of course, but Rudolph suffers from verbal abuse throughout the film, according to the Huffington Post video.
  • The video featured tweets from critics who said the TV classic's story featured racism, homophobia and bigotry, with Rudolph's father, the reindeer games coach, and even Santa Claus all being abusive and bigoted to anyone who stands out.
  • “Yearly reminder that #Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is a parable on racism & homophobia w/ Santa as a bigoted exploitative,” one commenter wrote about the story, according to The Washington Post.

Reaction: National media and political figures slammed the Huffington Post video. For example, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted the video with the caption, “Liberalism is a disease.”

  • And Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and political commentator Dave Rubin critiqued the video on a broadcast for Fox News, too. The two referenced other shows — like “Friends” and “Seinfeld” — that, they say, have been criticized in recent years by liberals.
  • "They find something, they kind of destroy that, and they’ll move on to everything else that we love,” Rubin said.

Flashback: “Rudolph” isn’t the only Christmas classic to be deemed problematic. In 2015, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” saw one of its lines cut by a Kentucky public school because of its biblical content, which I wrote about forFamifi.

However: It’s unclear if the Huffington Post video was meant to be satire. The news organization later shared an article with social media reactions to the film.