Malaysia’s cartoon characters have not been spared from the Internet’s cancel culture.
A character from the children’s cartoon show about orphans Upin and Ipin “apologized” to viewers yesterday in response to online backlash over an insensitive scene that went on air. The scene in question showed supporting character Fizi saying that only those with mothers could go to heaven.
Producers from Les’ Copaque Productions, who are behind the show, uploaded the five-minute-long video of Fizi apologizing to his friends and asking for forgiveness from netizens. The clip also showed Fizi, voiced by Ida Rahayu Yusoff, apologizing to Upin and Ipin, who then forgave him.
“I’m standing here today to apologize to Upin and Ipin,” the character said in the clip, titled Fizi Minta Maaf (Fizi Says Sorry).
“I did not mean to hurt their feelings the other day. After talking to Mail (another character on the show), I realized what I did was wrong, and am very regretful, so please don’t scold me anymore,” he added. The video has been viewed more than 4 million times.
Upin & Ipin producers and scriptwriters did not issue a separate apology.
Fizi faced the wrath of netizens with his controversial dialogue on the show’s Syahdunya Syawal Hari Raya episode, which was aired on May 24 in Malaysia and Indonesia.
In a scene where the characters were discussing how to help their mothers prepare for the festive occasion, Fizi said: “Kalau tak ada ibu, tak adalah syurga (If you don’t have a mom, you won’t go to heaven).”
This struck a nerve with fans as the Upin and Ipin characters were orphans themselves and were living with their grandmother and sister.
More than 200,000 tweets by Malaysian and Indonesian viewers had called out Fizi. Some even rehashed video clips of other insensitive remarks the cartoon character had said in past episodes, like “Kau memang tak jantan (You’re not a real man).”
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