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Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 19:00 GMT
Simpsons upsets Hungary
The Simpsons
Matt Groening created The Simpsons
An episode of the animated comedy The Simpsons has been accused of reinforcing prejudice against Hungary's Romany people.

Hungary's minority ombudsman said an episode of the show featured a Romany (or Roma) character who proved his ethnic origin by telling a school inspector: "I will drink your blood."

"In this scene, one of the characters declares Roma and vampires as borderline cases and... suggests the Roma in general cannot conform to social rules and expectations," Jeno Kaltenbach wrote in a letter to the channel that showed the episode.

Mr Kaltenbach acted after receiving a complaint from a Hungarian citizen after the episode was shown in the country.

Commercial TV channel ViaSat3 had followed the cartoon's original phrasing when it translated it into Magyar, the Hungarian language.

The ombudsman said further translation might have softened "offensive stereotypical expressions".

Persecution

The complaint follows an official apology by the programme's producers in April after an episode that outraged Brazilian officials.

In that show, The Simpsons travelled to Rio De Janeiro, which was depicted as a crime-ridden city infested with rats and monkeys.

In the past the programme has also pilloried Australia, Japan and France.

The Romany people make up five per cent of the Hungarian population of 10 million people.

They have suffered persecution at the hands of the Communist authorities since 1945 and by the pro-Nazi puppet government during World War II.

See also:

12 Jul 02 | Science/Nature
02 May 02 | Entertainment
30 Apr 02 | Entertainment
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