August 22, LONDON (Reuters) – They chase each other at high speed, wielding axes and hammers. But the famous cartoon duo of Tom and Jerry are in trouble in Britain for smoking on screen.
Media regulator Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer who took offence at two episodes involving smoking.
In one, "Texas Tom," the hapless cat Tom tries to impress a feline female by rolling a cigarette, lighting it and smoking it with one hand. In the other, "Tennis Chumps," Tom’s opponent in a match smokes a large cigar.
In a bulletin posted online, Ofcom noted "concerns that smoking on television may normalize smoking," and said that the Turner Company, licensee for Boomerang which aired the cartoons, had agreed to edit some smoking scenes out of Tom and Jerry.
"The licensee has … proposed editing any scenes or references in the series where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorized or where it might encourage imitation," Ofcom said, adding that "Texas Tom" was one such example.
But it would not cut all smoking scenes, it added.
Ofcom said it recognized smoking was more generally accepted when cartoons were produced in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, but noted that the threshold for including such scenes when the audience is predominately young should be high.