Bewitched Bunny

Chuck jones (1954)

Happy Halloween!

Bewitched Bunny is a 1954 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese. The short was released on July 24, 1954, and stars Bugs Bunny. Jones created the character Witch Hazel who debuted in this cartoon.

This short was the subject of controversy in Canada, when, in July 1998, a viewer who saw the short on an airing of The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show on Global thought Bugs’ final line (after Witch Hazel is transformed into a beautiful female rabbit, but still laughs like Witch Hazel): “Yeah, I know. But aren’t they all witches inside?” was misogynistic. Charlotte Bell, Global’s Vice-President of Regulatory Affairs at the time, wrote back, denying that there was anything misogynistic about the line. The complainant then filed a formal complaint with the Broadcast Standards Council, incorporating the Global executive who denied the claim into her analysis and cited that “Bewitched Bunny” showed women in an unflattering light and that the Global executive she talked to was lying about the claim. Eleven months and three days after it received the complaint, the Council reached its conclusion: while the ending line can be taken as sexist towards women, the short as a whole does not, in fact, show women in an unflattering light nor does it break any of Canada’s broadcasting rules and regulations. For a while, the Global version of this short aired with the allegedly misogynist “witches” line replaced with “Yeah, I know. But who wants to be alone on Halloween?” (which was taken from the American TV special Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special). When the verdict that the original line wasn’t in breach of any Canadian broadcasting rules, the edited version was swiftly replaced with the original. This controversy was briefly mentioned by Eric Goldberg on the DVD commentary of the fifth volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set.

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