One of the most popular and well-received animated series on television today is Cartoon Network's Steven Universe. The show follows the Crystal Gems, magical alien warriors who dedicate their lives to protecting the Earth and all who inhabit it. Throughout the series, we watch Steven, a half gem, half human child, grow up and learn what it means to be a Crystal Gem.
Generally, the show receives high praise for its integration of homosexual characters and normalization of same-sex relationships. However, Cartoon Network UK has recently been censoring certain episodes for "queer content." The censoring of the episode "We Need to Talk," which focuses on the intimate relationships between Rose Quartz and Greg as well as that of Rose Quartz and Pearl, has been recently generating quite a bit of internet buzz.
The UK edit cuts away from intimate moments between Rose and Pearl, showing images of Greg playing guitar rather than the original scene of the two women nearly locking lips.
Tumblr user officialkarupika highlighted the differences in the original episode and the UK broadcast with a side-by-side comparison.
Cartoon Network UK defended their move in a statement issued to PinkNews, saying that Cartoon Network UK often airs edited version of the US broadcasts. "We do feel that the slightly edited version is more comfortable for local kids and their parents," said the network.
Steven Universe is no stranger to intimate same-sex relationships. In one of the biggest reveals of the series, Steven comes to find out that Garnet, one of the show's main characters, is actually a fusion of two gems, Ruby and Sapphire, and is the physical embodiment of the undying love they have for one another. The integration of a lesbian couple only made fans love the show even more.
Fans of Steven Universe are, rightfully, upset about the censorship. A petition was created to get the uncensored clip aired in the UK and has gained over 4,000 signatures. The petition states "Steven Universe is a beloved series acclaimed for its groundbreaking portrayal of queer characters. I’ve heard many young people say it changed their lives.
“In the UK and Europe, CN UK have censored a romantic dance between two female characters, Pearl and Rose Quartz. Queer youngsters treasure and cling to this moment.
It adds: “Please ask CN UK to stop censoring queer content in ‘Steven Universe’," the petition asks, "and to restore Pearl and Rose’s dance in future broadcasts in the UK and Europe."
As of right now, there is no word on whether or not the original episode will be aired in the UK.