People dressed as Smurfs
A French professor has accused popular comic strip and cartoon "The Smurfs" of promoting fascism and racist stereotypes. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A French professor has become a news item lately for taking “The Smurfs” to task for having fascist and racist overtones. Antoine Bueno, a lecturer at a prestigious Parisian academy, published a book recently in which he opines that the Smurfs live under authoritarian rule and perpetuate stereotypes.

Papa Smurf a metaphor Josef Stalin

Antoine Bueno, who is a lecturer at the Sciences Po, a prestigious political sciences school in Paris, has gained notoriety recently for making accusations that “The Smurfs,” a long-running comic strip and series of cartoons, promotes fascism and anti-Semitism, according to The Telegraph. The Smurfs debuted as a comic strip in 1958, written by Belgian comic strip artist Peyo. Peyo, whose real name was Pierre Culliford, wrote Smurf comics until his death in 1992, and his son Thierry Culliford has carried on the stripĀ  since. The American Hanna-Barbera cartoon is nearly the same as the strip. However, according to Antoine Bueno, the series has bad overtones. Papa Smurf, according to Bueno, runs the village with absolute authority, and with his mustache and fatherly countenance, occupies nearly the same role that Josef Stalin did in the Soviet Union.

Chief villain uses anti-Semitic stereotypes

Bueno also alleges that the chief villain in the Smurf’s world, the wizard Gargamel, is a caricature of anti-Semitic stereotypes. He says that the hooked nose, crooked posture and obsession with gold is how Jews were stereotyped by the Nazis and others throughout history. He also alleges that Smurfette, the lone female in the series, is similar to the perfect Aryan female under the tenets of the Nazi party. However, Bueno was careful to point out that these weren’t conscious and that the Smurfs, or “Les Schtroumpfs,” aren’t racist or fascist propaganda, they only inadvertently have these themes. Culliford said Bueno’s critique was equally amusing and outrageous. There is a live action Smurfs movie that will be released in America in 2011.

Not the first cartoon to face accusations

Other children’s programming has been charged with promoting improper messages. Various Disney movies have been accused of racism and other allegations over the years. For instance, according to a piece on humor site, the crows in the film “Dumbo” could be construed as stereotypes of African Americans, and other Disney films such as “Peter Pan” and “Aladdin” perpetuate racist stereotypes of Native Americans and Arabs, respectively.

Some examples of Disney racism


The Telegraph:



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