A Chinese court has ruled that producers of a hit kids’ TV cartoon hold partial responsibility for serious burns sustained by two children in a copycat act of violence. The court also laid partial blame on the legal guardians of a 10-year-old boy who in April tied two others to a tree and set them on fire in Jiangsu province, the Xinhua news agency reported. The 10-year-old boy said he had been imitating a scene from the cartoon Xi Yangyang & Hui Tailang (Pleasant Goat And Big Big Wolf). With increased scrutiny on how violent images affect TV and film audiences, and how ratings systems inform parents, the decision by the court comes at a notable moment.
One of the injured boys, aged seven, had burns to 80% of his body. His four-year-old brother was burned across 40% of his body. The court ordered the 10-year-old boy’s guardians and Guangzhou-based producer, Creative Power Entertaining, to pay 60% and 15%, respectively, of their compensation. Because the show is aimed at children, the court said producers are obliged to scrutinize violence carefully, and that inappropriate scenes should be cut and warnings given, Xinhua said.
Creative Power is understood to have previously been criticized for some of Pleasant Goat And Big Big Wolf‘s depictions. The show has aired over 800 episodes on myriad local stations, including state network CCTV, since it debuted in 2005. In 2010, Creative Power Entertaining signed an agreement with Buena Vista International for broadcast on Disney channels in the Asia-Pacific region. The story follows a group of goats and the clumsy wolf who wants to eat them. According to the Associated Press, other violent scenes have included a goat being plunged into boiling water and receiving electric shocks. The wolf’s wife also regularly hits her husband over the head when he fails to bring a goat home for dinner.