SpongeBob ‘coming out’ tweet sparks discussion in China

By Ji Yuqiao Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/16 16:48:41

Nickelodeon, the home of popular animated show SpongeBob SquarePants, tweeted a photo of the titular character alongside the channel's other major LGBTQ+ characters on Saturday to celebrate Pride Month. The show of support has been seen as a "coming out" of sorts, which in turn sparked discussion on China social media. 

June is Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community. On Saturday, Nickelodeon posted the photo on Twitter along with the message: "Celebrating Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month." 

Some Chinese media including the magazine Vista and Life Week reported the tweet on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo with the hashtag "SpongeBob comes out." 

Some Chinese netizens were opposed to having the cartoon character involved in what they consider a complicated social issue. 

"SpongeBob is just an adorable virtual character for children, why does he have to be politically correct?" one of netizens commented on Sina Weibo.

Those who disagreed with this stance said that supporting gender diversity is beneficial.

Peng Yanzi, founder of LGBT Rights Advocacy of China, noted that the tweet did not confirm SpongeBob was a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but "no matter if this was a coming out or a support tweet to the community, it can allow more people, including teenagers, to see differences in the world and guide them to understand and accept gender diversity," he told the Global Times on Monday.


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