Why People are taking issue with ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’

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Have you ever rewatched a movie you loved as a kid and noticed that it had some seriously disturbing elements? Whether we are talking the brutal death of parents or evil witches, taking a closer look at some of these classic kids’ films can make you rethink whether you want to watch these old films with your family.

Such was the case when the 1964 Christmas classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” recently aired on CBS. It wasn’t long before Twitter lit up with disturbed adults who were watching this film later in life and thinking, “What in Kris Kringle’s name is going on here?”

First of all, there is some pretty major bullying that happens. And it’s not just the other reindeer who bully poor little Rudolph. His own parents are pretty awful to him as well, with his dad actually mocking up his newborn son because of his nose. Ouch!

Even Santa Claus is mean to him, which has prompted YouTubers to post clips of the film with titles like “Santa is a Jerk”

And how about Coach Comet? He not only allows the other children to mock Rudolph, but he refuses to let the red-nosed fellow play any reindeer games, despite his impressive skills — and all because his nose is a different color.

And then we get the Island of Misfit Toys, where we meet a bird who cannot fly. That’s sad, but he will have a happy ending, right?

Some people were paying close attention to what happened to the bird and posted about it on social media:

One of the elves tosses the bird out of the sleigh in the end credits. Hello, elf, that bird cannot fly! What are you doing?!

Of course, some people also couldn’t help but point out that the larger message of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is disturbing in and of itself. An innocent, harmless creature is bullied just because he looks a little bit different. Later, when his difference becomes useful to those around him, they decide to let him become part of their society again — not because they realized they treated him unfairly (really, they all belong on Santa’s naughty list), but because he has an exploitable commodity they want to take advantage of.

So, what do you think? Are these viewers making some good points about the Christmas classic? Or do you think “Rudolph” is still an endearing story that has a good message for children?

MORE: Why ‘Holiday Inn’ should not be called a Christmas classic

Entertainment, Holiday & Seasonal, Movies & TV, Parenting
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About the Author
Bridget Sharkey
Bridget Sharkey is a freelance writer covering pop culture, beauty, food, health and nature. Visit Scripps News to see more of Bridget's work.

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