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Court Rules for Simpsons Cartoon

Published: April 5, 2005 (Issue # 1058)


MOSCOW - After spending a day in court watching cartoons, a Moscow judge on Friday rejected a lawsuit brought against RenTV for broadcasting two American programs that the plaintiff said had piqued his young son's interest in cocaine and prompted the child to insult his mother.

The Khamovniki District Court judge rejected the claim by Igor Smykov, who filed the suit almost three years ago claiming that the cartoon series "The Simpsons" and "The Family Guy" were morally degenerate and promoted drugs, violence and homosexuality.

Smykov sued the channel in June 2002, asking for compensation of 50,000 rubles, which was eventually increased to 300,000 rubles ($10,770). He also demanded that the station be banned from airing the two programs or at least be required to show them later in the evening.

"The Simpsons," which RenTV still runs, is a popular and sophisticated cartoon series that chronicles the adventures of the Simpson family, while "The Family Guy," known in Russia as the "Griffins," is darker. Its characters include a talking dog and an evil-genius baby with ambitions of world domination and homicidal inclinations toward his mother.

Smykov said that his son Konstantin, who was 6 in 2002, approached his parents after watching an episode of "The Family Guy" and asked them what cocaine was. After he was reprimanded, Konstantin called his mother a toad, Smykov said. The suit alleged that RenTV, by broadcasting the two programs, was interfering with a child's right to a normal, healthy childhood.

But Judge Lyubov Dednyova was apparently not impressed by the evidence, which included video recordings of several of the offending episodes.

Smykov was not present in the courtroom Friday. RIA-Novosti reported that he had appeared for the start of the day's session drunk.

He sounded distraught when reached by telephone at his home that afternoon. "I am shocked to the depths of my soul," Smykov said. "I cannot even talk. It is scary. I cannot understand why no one wants to defend the children."

Smykov, who explained his absence during Friday's proceedings by saying he "could not take it" if he lost, said he nevertheless had expected to win. "I did not care about the money," he said. "I was hoping to set a judicial precedent."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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