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#RIPCartoonNetwork is trending on social media. Why the beloved animation channel is getting eulogized online.

In Entertainment
July 10, 2024
#RIPCartoonNetwork is trending on social media. Why the beloved animation channel is getting eulogized online.

The #RIPCartoonNetwork began trending on X on Monday, but there’s no evidence that the television channel is shutting down.

The hashtag is part of a campaign started by Animation Workers Ignited, a community-run account that advocates for workers in the animation industry. It called on fans to post about their favorite Cartoon Network shows to “spread the word about what’s at stake.” Representatives for the group have not yet responded to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.

In the X post that kicked off the #RIPCartoonNetwork campaign, Animation Workers Ignited shared an animated video that claims that Cartoon Network is “essentially dead” and other animation studios “are not far behind.”

“When COVID first hit, animation was able to operate completely remotely, making one of the only forms of entertainment that could continue production uninterrupted,” the video states. “But studios decided to pay them back by canceling projects, outsourcing jobs and laying off artists en masse.”

The video stated that mass unemployment in the industry is the result of “greed.”

“Big studios make their finances look better by reducing spending and cutting staff,” the video continues. “Animation is under attack, which side are you on?”

Marge Dean, the president of the nonprofit organization Women in Animation, wrote in a letter to members in 2023 that the animation industry “saw drastic cuts in projects from all the major streamers long before the writers and actors went on strike.” She said the “explosion of production” in the streaming era has been so disproportionately large, “there was no way that it wouldn’t crash.” The resulting cuts are a “course correction.”

Some X users shared posts as if the channel were shutting down, but Animation Workers Ignited clarified in a post that the network and brand are both still around. Cartoon Network Studios technically no longer exists — it was consolidated into Warner Bros. Animation in 2022. Parent company Warner Bros. Discovery has not yet responded to Yahoo’s request for comment.

A viral photo of the Cartoon Network Studios logo being removed from an office building in Burbank, Calif., has been shared repeatedly on social media, but the photo was taken in 2023 after the studio relocated.

Fans used the #RIPCartoonNetwork hashtag to pay tribute to bygone series that aired on the channel, referencing shows like Ed, Edd n Eddy and Ben 10.

Though Cartoon Network might not be dead, the spirit of the animation studio that employed so many eager workers is no longer as hopeful as it once was. Animation Workers Ignited has reposted several testimonials from users who say their livelihoods have been affected by a lack of work in the industry.

“An untold number of people have already or are at risk of losing their insurance, homes, and livelihoods during this record unemployment across the industry and people are arguing over the use of the word ‘dead,’” one X user wrote in a post also shared by Animation Workers Ignited.

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