Apparently, it’s not just Venezuela where The Simpsons are having public relations problems:
BUENOS AIRES, April 16 — If Homer Simpson and his family are planning any South American vacations in the near future, they might want to come up with a backup plan.
The television show “The Simpsons” is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon in many parts of the continent, but it also has become very good at exposing the region’s rawest nerves, and then clawing them sore.
In the same week that Venezuela’s government threatened to punish a television station for exposing children to the show, a snippet of dialogue from a recent installment is kicking up controversy in Argentina.
During the episode, Homer and his friends gathered at Moe’s Tavern and grumbled about their choices of political candidates. The conversation seemed innocent enough, until Homer’s buddy Carl Carlson opened his mouth.
“I’d really go for some kind of military dictator, like Juan Perón,” Carl said, mentioning the general who was elected president by Argentines three times. “When he ‘disappeared’ you, you stayed disappeared.”
Carl’s friend Lenny then delivered a coup de grâce: “Plus, his wife was Madonna.”
Most Argentines don’t consider Perón a dictator, and they certainly don’t blame him for the fact that up to 30,000 dissidents went missing during the country’s “dirty war.” Those disappearances are attributed to a military dictatorship that ruled from 1976 to 1983, after Perón’s death.
“This type of program causes great harm, because the disappearances are still an open wound here,” former congressman Lorenzo Pepe, who now heads the Juan Domingo Perón Institute, said of the episode. “This is highly offensive to Argentines.”
And this isn’t the first time that Homer and the gang have pissed off a major South American country:
In the continent’s largest country, Brazil, the show inflamed mass anger when the Simpson family visited Rio de Janeiro during a 2002 episode. The storyline featured Homer being kidnapped by a taxi driver. Then he and Bart were mugged by a gang of children. Bart, in his hotel room, watched a racy television show for children, called “Teleboobies.” On Copacabana beach, Bart was attacked by a monkey.
Here’s a clip of the Peron bit: