Social Media Backlash over US Cartoon’s Depiction of Prince George Raises Questions over Privacy
By Aaron Brest
With the release of the satirical series “The Prince”, Brittons have taken to social media, condemning the show’s portrayal of eight-year-old Prince George.
Backlash from satirised people and communities is nothing new. The 2006 movie “Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan'', which follows Borat Sagdiyev—a Khazak reporter—being sent to the United States to make a documentary about American culture, resulted in Khazak and Romanian anger, respectively, over the portrayal of Kazakhstan, and the use of Romania (where all scenes in Kazakhstan were filmed) to paint such an unappealing picture.
Even in Britain itself, satire faces censorship requests from those that it targets. Shows such as “Have I got News for you”, a television panel show airing since 1990, caught flak from the UK Independence Party after comments on the show were deemed to be harmful towards a politician’s success in the upcoming election.
However, those on Social Media claim that the satire in “The Prince” is particularly harmful because of its target: Eight-year-old Prince George. Critics ask, in light of his age and the sharpness of the jokes directed towards him, “should children be off-limits in comedy?” The creator of the series, Gary Jannetti, has defended his work, stating that “[the show] serves to entertain audiences” and that “everything is meant with affection.”
This isn’t the first time Jannetti has sanctioned objectionable messages about the Prince; he has often taken to Instagram to mock George by insinuating sexual relationships with extended family members and questioning his sexuality.
Others involved in the show have also been attacked online. Sophie Turner, known for her role in “Game of Thrones” recounted her experiences with paparazzi following and capturing photos of her child, asserting that minors should have better protection from invasions of privacy. Many have called her out on the alleged hypocrisy of defending her child's privacy while taking part in a series that portrays another in such a harmful way.
The critical reception of the show has also reflected this negative sentiment. The series received a 3/10 from Marcus Gibson of Bubblelander and a recommendation to skip the show entirely from Decider’s Joel Keller—the former citing the “painful” insult that the series was.
The debate between those who defend the series based on free speech and those who criticise its portrayal of the Royal Family has resulted in the unanswered question of whether or not children should have more protection from harmful representations in satire. All in all, though, it would be safe to say that the Royal Family themselves have bigger fish to fry.