Voice actress Corinne Conley vociferously defended the classic Rankin & Bass television movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer after it came under attack from Huffington Post. The Huffington Post described the film as “seriously problematic” and bolstered their argument with a number of Twitter users who claimed the film was racist and homophobic. They even went so far as to describe Santa Claus as a bigot.
Corinne Conley, who gave voice to one of the misfit toys, Sue, in the classic 1964 Christmas special, spoke to TMZ to defend the special.
Conley points out that the criticism doesn’t really make sense given that the bullying that is showcased in the early parts of the film is reconciled by the end.
“I would say [Rudolph] is more relevant now than ever because there’s so much bullying going on, but it’s all reconciled in ‘Rudolph,’ and surely people wouldn’t love it so much if it left a resonance of bullying. It wouldn’t be so indelible in people’s hearts.”
She goes on to point out how the film has deep emotional connections to many of the people who have watched the film.
“And believe me I’ve got to tell you having been in it and having a list of credits over the last 60 year, people read my credits and say ‘Oh you were in Rudolph’ and they start to cry. I don’t think they are associating Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with bullying or at least bullying that hasn’t been reconciled.”
Conley would add:
“There is quite a bit of bullying go on at this time. So perhaps were all getting a little more sensitive to it. But that’s good. I don’t think by getting sensitive to bullying that you want to copy it. You want to get rid of it. And certainly in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer everyone is reconciled happily at the end of the movie. Let’s hope in today’s society the things that people are bullying about can also be rectified. I don’t think people are tempted to bully so much if they nice warm-hearted shows like Rudolph.”
She would even suggest that people who are hating on Rudolph not watch the movie anymore, but if they did watch the film they might learn a thing or two about bullying.
“I hope they don’t watch it, but if they do they might learn a lesson. I can’t imagine if you are a hater…you take the opposite view of the film. That I can’t imagine. If there are people like that, no, I Hope they aren’t watching.”
Finally, she compared the Rudolph haters to Scrooge.
“I just can’t imagine it affecting anyone in a negative way. They must be like Scrooge. Tell them to watch Scrooge.”
CBS has already begun airing the beloved Christmas TV special. It most recently aired last Tuesday. However, if you missed the first airing it will also be back on CBS on December 8 at 8 p.m. ET. Or you can do what I have done and just buy the DVD and watch it with your family every weekend until Christmas.
What do you think? Does Corinne have a point about the movie? Are the detractors not understanding the fundamental message of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Or have the times changed? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!