It was announced last week that the "Looney Tunes" cartoons were receiving a progressive makeover, and Elmer Fudd, who is a hunter, would no longer use guns. Not to be outdone, Nickelodeon wants you to know that SpongeBob SquarePants might be gay.
Apparently, the anthropomorphic sea sponge of the massively popular children's cartoon might have a sexual preference. In a tweet posted in honor of Pride Month, Nickelodeon announced that SpongeBob SquarePants is "celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month."
Celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month 🌈 (🎨: by @ramzymasri) https://t.co/pENmTaQB0h— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) 1592054553.0
The Nickelodeon tweet also features other characters and actors from the kids' TV network that are members of the LGBTQ+ community. Korra from "The Legend of Korra" is gay or bisexual, and actor Michael D. Cohen from "Henry Danger" is a transgender man in real life.
This isn't the first controversy over SpongeBob's sexuality. In 2002 episode titled "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve," SpongeBob and his best friend Patrick Star, a pink starfish who also lives in Bikini Bottom, co-parent an abandoned scallop.
Before he passed away from ALS in 2018, "SpongeBob SquarePants" creator Stephen Hillenburg said the talking sponge is "asexual" in a 2005 interview with People Magazine.
"We never intended them to be gay," Hillenburg said of SpongeBob and Patrick. "I consider them to be almost asexual. We're just trying to be funny and this has got nothing to do with the show."
Science backs up Hillenburg, who was a marine science teacher before creating the hit kids cartoon. Most sea sponges are hermaphroditic, and can produce both eggs and sperm. Sponges can also reproduce asexually through "budding," where a "small piece of sponge is broken off but is still able to survive and grow into another sponge."