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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

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



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 meetings every Tuesday night 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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