A children’s show was pulled from a popular television network just days before its scheduled premiere date.
“Made By Maddie,” a cartoon about “a quick-thinking little girl with a big personality and a huge heart who has a passion for fashion,” was set to air on Nickelodeon on Sept. 13. When social media users got word of the promotion, however, desires of a positive reception turned into actual accusations of stealing.
Black Twitter, in particular, alleged the producers of the show were stealing from Matthew Cherry’s Academy Award winning short film Hair Love. Much like Cherry’s visual, the characters in “Made By Maddie” included a Black father with dreadlocks, a young girl with kinky hair and a gray pet cat.
“This series idea is so cute and I know it will make a lot of little girls happy... but this is still plagiarism...? Like, why not just hire black creatives like @MatthewACherry...?” one user tweeted. “This just makes me so sad like white people really plagiarized his characters down to maddie’s dad having locs and the family having a pet cat... they really couldn’t just come up with a black girl character of their own or just hire a black creator...”
Another person used Google Lens on the image of the now canceled show, but it came up as Cherry’s short film.
Some users noticed there were similarities in the animations, but were not quick to point any fingers.
“Animated TV series are worked on for a long time before released, & I think both animations were being worked on before designs were shown publicly,” a third user wrote. “I’m not saying it WASN’T copied, but there’s no way to say for 100% certain. Bigger coincidences have happened.”
Animated TV series are worked on for a long time before released, & I think both animations were being worked on before designs were shown publicly.— ✨ Freyo ✨ (@freyofelt) September 3, 2020
I'm not saying it WASN'T copied, but there's no way to say for 100% certain. Bigger coincidences have happened.
Another tweet read, “I’m seeing the ‘Made by Maddie’ creators claim they started on it 5 years ago, so 2 years before Hair Love’s kickstarter, but that leaves 3 years of leeway they could have seen & used the designs, so there’s still certainly room to be suspicious.”
I'm seeing the "Made by Maddie" creators claim they started on it 5 years ago, so 2 years before "Hair Love's" kickstarter, but that leaves 3 years of leeway they could have seen & used the designs, so there's still certainly room to be suspicious.— Double Trouble Thottie (@ThottieDouble) September 3, 2020
Despite the physical resemblances, “Made By Maddie” producers Silvergate said they didn’t copy Hair Love as the idea of the show was conceived before Cherry launched a Kickstarter campaign for his film.
Following the online criticism, Nickelodeon released a statement, announcing they will no longer air “Made By Maddie.”
“‘Made by Maddie’ is a show we acquired several years ago from Silvergate Media, a renowned production company we have previously worked with on other series,” a Nickelodeon spokesperson said Friday (Sept. 4). “Since announcing the show’s premiere date this week, we have been listening closely to the commentary, criticism and concern coming from both viewers and members of the creative community.”
“In response, and out of respect to all voices in the conversation, we are removing the show from our schedule as we garner further insight into the creative journey of the show,” the message continued. “We are grateful to Silvergate Media for all of their work. And we hold Matthew A. Cherry and the wonderful and inspiring Hair Love in the highest regard.”
Check out some of the tweets comparing “Made By Maddie” and Hair Love below.
I tried doing a "Google lens" search to see what this show is, and look what came up! pic.twitter.com/u5r8lhGVSS— Justice for Breonna Taylor (@justkelly_ok) September 2, 2020
The person at nickelodeon who ok'd this ripoff probably only glanced at the show and said to themselves, "A black main cast? This will make us look woke and bring us more black viewers." Not realizing the shit storm they have unleashed.— Scootlaboot (@Scootlaboot) September 2, 2020