Self-censorship strikes Danish animation

The director of a new adult comedy animation from Denmark has admitted that he was afraid to lampoon Islam in the movie, although other religions are freely made fun of.

Thirty year old Thorbjørn Christoffersen, one of the directors of Journey to Saturn, said the scriptwriters had intentionally exempted the one Muslim character from religious satire because of fears for the directors’ safety.

It’s unfortunately been impossible to make fun of the Muslims’ religion. I think we make many jabs at the person Jamil in the film, but it’s correct that we’re not touching his belief. It’s simply too sensitive an area, that I can’t take the responsibility to get involved. I certainly need to think of both my family and my workplace. I’m not a fighter, and I don’t like to have raging Muslims knocking on my door.

I 100% support that people should be able to make fun of everything. but this is not about special consideration for Muslims, it’s about consideration for myself and my family.

The film is an adaptation of the late Danish satirist Claus Deleuran’s strip cartoon.

The author Kaare Bluitgen, whose difficulty in finding an illustrator for his book about Mohammed led to the Jyllands-Posten Motoons farrago, said he found Christoffersen’s attitude “disappointing”. He thinks Deleuran would have had no qualms about satirising Islam:

I am sure that if Claus Deleuren was alive today he would have made the 13th Muhammed cartoon, and it would have been the funniest of them all. Therefore it disappoints me if people push political correctness even here.

The current Justice minister Brian Mikkelsen is also sad:

It’s sad it it’s become so that individual artists censure themselves out of fear of religious fanatics. We have in Dnemark a strong and good tradition of satire, also in connection with religious subjects. And we should hold fast to it.

Christoferssen is unrepentant:

I don’t see this as my or the film’s problem. I will not necessarily be a tool in a campaign, just because I make a cartoon film. At the design studio we all felt concerned by threats against the Muhammed cartoonist, which I completely support, but at the current time I think that it will be dumb to repeat the demonstration. Moreover, I don’t believe in the confrontation model, as I believe that the Muslims with enough time will adapt to Denmark’s standards.

From the trailer, the film looks quite good. Even if they didn’t have the guts to satirise Islam, they certainly have a go at the flag-burning anti-Denmark fanatics who took to the streets over the Motoons.

Danish source.

4 Responses to “Self-censorship strikes Danish animation”

  1. Stuart says:

    Well they may claim not to satirise islam but at 1 minute 56 seconds into the trailer they do have a couple of mad looking mullahs waving kalashnikovs and a Danish flag consumed in the conflagration. So the satire may not be direct but they at least glance at it.

  2. Mark Hudson says:

    I’m wondering if a clever satirist could actually use some pointed and obvious non-fun-making of a Muslim character as a way of indirectly taking the chronic piss out of them? Maybe by subjecting anything and everything else to extreme ridicule, but clearly avoiding this (while also not referring to the fact that it is being avoided) in the case of Islam might make a good point.

  3. marc draco says:

    @2. Ironically, I think that’s precisely what they’ve achieved without actually knowing it. Funny how things work out.

  4. […] Animated self censorship Based on the graphic novel by Claus Deleuran, Rejsen Til Saturn (Journey to Saturn) tells the tale of what happens when a Danish crew of misfits travel in space to find natural gas. The film is due to be released on Friday and promises a fart and belch fuelled lampoon of a whole host of political and religious beliefs. Except one (via). […]