In the wake of a viral video that called out all the ways the Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer could be seen as problematic, an actor involved in the 1964 film is firing back.
Corrine Conley, who voiced a few minor characters, most notably Sue’s doll, told TMZ that the criticisms disregard the moral of the story.
“I would say [the movie] is more relevant now than ever because there is so much bullying going on,” says the 89 year-old, who recently appeared in A Simple Favor. “But, I mean, 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 on people’s hearts.”
She then explained how her involvement in the holiday film has defined her own career.
“People read my credits and say, ‘Oh, you were in Rudolph!’ and they start to cry,” she gushed. “I don’t think they’re associating Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with bullying or at least bullying that hasn’t been reconciled.”
She went on to discuss current events.
“There is quite a big of bullying going on right now at this time, so perhaps we’re all getting a little more sensitive to it, but that’s good,” she said. “I don’t think by getting sensitive to bullying that you want to copy it. You want to get rid of it! … Let’s hope in today’s society the things that people are bullying about can also be rectified. And I don’t think people are tempted to bully so much if they watch nice, warm-hearted shows like Rudolph.”
To conclude, she quipped, “I just can’t imagine it affecting anyone in a negative way. They must be like Scrooge. Tell them to watch Scrooge.”
The viral video in question was tweeted out by the Huffington Post at the end of November. It called out the barrage of negativity that little Rudolph faces for his red, shiny nose, including verbal abuse from his father Donner who tries to cover it up.
“There are more important things than comfort: self-respect,” Donner tells Rudolph after the reindeer complains about the nose cover-up.
“The holiday TV classic ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is seriously problematic,” reads the caption on the video, which has been seen over 5.7 million times.
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Among the critiques were how Santa aids in marginalizing the young reindeer, as well as the bullying behind his coach egging on the other reindeer to not let Rudolph play with them.
The comments ignited controversy on Twitter, with most people finding it hard to believe that some would have a problem with the tale. Even the ladies of The View got in on the debate and — for once — all agreed that any criticism didn’t make sense.
“People accused Santa of being a bully. Don’t they know the song?” Whoopi Goldberg said before launching into a fantastic dramatic reading of the lyrics.
“Where is the problem?” she demanded afterward to much applause. “He’s a kid that nobody believed in and suddenly they realized he is special, he is who he is for a reason. And he becomes the hero. Where’s the problem?”
It seems like the special isn’t suffering from the recent controversy. A new poll released Wednesday morning found that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was voted the most beloved Christmas movie, with 83 percent of participants finding it favorable.