Politics & Policy

Warning: Cute ‘Madagascar’ Cartoon Penguins are Actually Rapists

It turns out animals don't actually behave the way the cartoon versions of animals do.

A movie starring the singing, dancing penguins of DreamWorks’ ”Madagascar” series comes out today, but you might not want to watch it because those penguins are actually rapists in real life.

“Sure, the Adélie penguins in Penguins of Madagascar look cute. But the species is also noted for its ‘astonishing depravity,’ including necrophilia and infanticide,” Asawin Suebsaeng writes in a Daily Beast article titled “Lovable ‘Madagascar’ Penguins Are Known to Rape and Torture in Real Life.”

Can we really support this kind of filth? Sounds like these penguins need a lesson in affirmative consent, not a movie deal!

But it doesn’t stop there: The film trailer also shows one of the penguins eating artificially flavored cheese snacks, which is not only incredibly misleading given the fact that penguins do not eat processed foods,  but also harmful because it encourages children to imitate the penguins, eat unhealthily, and get diabetes.

Suebsaeng explains that the media has “whitewashed” these penguins’ “dark secrets,” daring to call them things such as “sociable” and “puckish” — totally ignoring the fact that they are actually violent rapists. It makes me wonder if there have ever been any other animals that the media has called “cute” without making sure they also adhere to human standards of behavior.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful to Mr. Suebsaeng for his fact-checking. After all, I really thought that all animals behaved the way that cartoons portray them. What’s next — am I going to find out that lion cubs, meerkats, and warthogs don’t become best friends in the African desert and sing and dance around together?

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.


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