You might say SpongeBob Squarepants is a wanted man, in Indonesia … or would that be, a wanted sponge?
Officials at the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission have sent a stern warning letter to television station GTV for broadcasting The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, alleging that the airing of the film was considered in violation of the broadcasting code of conduct and program standards, The Jakarta Post reported.
The movie, aired on Aug. 6 on GTV’s “Big Movie Family” program, was said to have contained violent acts, such as hitting a face with a board, dropping a bowling ball on the head, throwing a hammer at a face and throwing a pot of cactus with the help of a racket. All in good fun, of course.
The movie, which aired again on Aug. 22 on GTV, reportedly contained the violent acts of throwing a cake at a face and hitting with the use of wood.
The KPI deemed the movie as potentially violating Article 14 of the KPI’s code of conduct, which states that a broadcasting unit must adhere to the interests of children in every aspect of broadcasting production, the report said.
The letter also includes Article 37 of the commission’s program standards, which states a broadcasting program with the classification of R is forbidden to show content that might encourage children and teenagers to learn about inappropriate behavior.
A wildly popular American animated television series, SpongeBob SquarePants chronicles the adventures of the title character and his friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom, the report said.
First airing in 1999, the series was made into a feature film, The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie in 2004. The second movie, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, came out in 2015, while the third is slated for a 2020 release.
The series has received many awards, including Emmy awards for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program in 2010 and Outstanding Children’s Animated Series in 2018.
In February, the West Java branch of the KPI limited airtime for 17 songs and radio and television in West Java for sexual content, the report said.
In August, it planned to formulate rules expected to serve as a legal umbrella for monitoring content on digital media outlets, such as YouTube and Netflix.
E-mails to SpongeBob and Squidward, to seek reaction, went unanswered.