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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Simpsons apologise to Rio
The Simpsons
The episode featured street children and monkeys
Makers of The Simpsons have apologised to Rio de Janeiro for a recent episode of the hit cartoon that offended Brazilian officials.

Tourist officials threatened to take legal action over the show, in which the cartoon family visit the city to find the streets teeming with monkeys and rats.


What really hurt was the idea of the monkeys - the image that Rio de Janeiro was a jungle.

Rio tourist board spokesman

In the show, Simpsons father Homer was kidnapped by an unlicensed taxi driver, and he and son Bart were robbed by street children.

Simpsons executive producer James Brooks said in a statement: "We apologise to the lovely city and people of Rio de Janeiro.

"The Simpsons is a satirical look at a modern American family."

Also in the offending episode, the police were depicted as lazy and unhelpful and Brazilian men were portrayed as bisexual.

Rio carnival
Rio is trying to sell itself as a tourist destination

Bart was at one stage swallowed by a boa constrictor, and Rio's slums appeared to be dirty and dangerous.

The programme followed the family's attempts to locate a missing orphan sponsored by daughter Lisa.

It was entitled Blame it on Lisa, in homage to the 1980s film Blame it on Rio.

Brazilian officials said the programme undermined a major initiative to attract tourists from the US.

'Monkeys'

President Fernando Henrique Cardosa claimed it "brought a distorted vision of Brazilian reality".

And Rio tourism board president Jose Eduardo Guinle asked the board's legal team to look into what action could be taken.

A spokesman said: "What really hurt was the idea of the monkeys - the image that Rio de Janeiro was a jungle.

"It's a completely unreal image of the city."

See also:

05 Mar 02 | Americas
Charles draws crowds in Rio
09 Apr 02 | TV and Radio
Simpsons challenged over Rio 'jokes'
20 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Channel 4 lands Simpsons
17 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
BBC quits Simpsons talks
03 Feb 02 | Scotland
Simpsons offer 'moral orientation'
31 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Simpsons 'more interesting' than Royalty
28 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Simpsons tops kids' TV poll
07 May 01 | TV and Radio
Homer voted top TV star
01 May 01 | TV and Radio
The Simpsons keep 3m voices
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