Cartoon Network has been caught removing scenes of two women dancing romantically together from a broadcast in the UK.
Internet fans of cartoon Steven Universe raised concerns about the blip, in the episode We Need to Talk.
The episode features a romantic dance between two female characters – Pearl and Rose Quartz – during musical number ‘What Can I Do For You?’.
However, a recent UK broadcast of the American animated show allegedly made edits to the scene, omitting moments where the pair can be seen dancing closely together and appear to be very intimate.
A side-by-side comparison created by a Tumblr user shows clear changes – with the brief scenes substituted for close-ups of entirely different characters.
Despite heterosexual kisses in the same episode, the changes tweak the scene’s meaning away from suggesting romantic attraction – with the pair seemingly just friends.
A petition set up by anime fans says: “Steven Universe is a beloved series acclaimed for its groundbreaking portrayal of queer characters.
I’ve heard many young people say it changed their lives. “In the UK and Europe, CN UK have censored a romantic dance between two female characters, Pearl and Rose Quartz.
Queer youngsters treasure and cling to this moment.
“The same episode (‘We Need to Talk’) has plenty of hereto dancing and kissing, so it looks like they’re censoring this because it’s two women.”
It adds: “Please ask CN UK to stop censoring queer content in ‘Steven Universe’, and to restore Pearl and Rose’s dance in future broadcasts in the UK and Europe.”
Watch the contested clip below. (The most obvious edit is at 1:55)
The original show has won praise for including a number of strong, female characters in a comparatively male-dominated genre, and for hinting at a number of same-sex relationships.
The show’s former producer previously confirmed that two of the show’s female characters were in a relationship, saying: “R & S are in a romantic relationship and I don’t believe any different.”
When asked whether it is fair to interpret the pair as “nonbinary femme presenting lesbians”, he responded: “By human standards & terminology that would be a fair assessment!”