The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
The Nazi Air Marker Hoax, 1942
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Snowball the Monster Cat, 2000
Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, 1959
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
Sober Sue, the woman who never smiled, 1907
Rachael Ray cooks her family and her dog
The Sandpaper Test, 1960
Black SpongeBob
image Back in February if you were shopping for a Valentine's Day card at Wal-Mart, you might have been able to pick up a card that showed a black 'Sambo' version of SpongeBob Squarepants. Wal-Mart officials report that it was quite a popular item. Amazingly only one person complained about the blatantly racist image. But when the manufacturer of the card found out about the card, they hit the roof, because a Black SpongeBob was definitely not what they had ordered from the printer. The mystery is how 'racist SpongeBob' ever got created. Who was responsible for it? Was it a joke by the printer in China? Seems unlikely, since all the cultural references are American, not Chinese. But if not the printer, then who? For now, it's a mystery. (Thanks to Alex Knight for the link).
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 18, 2004
Comments (11)
I worked in printing for 10 years in pre-press. The way to create images like this uses masks and knock-outs. It is more likely someone used the wrong mask and burned an extra image on the black plate so it came out looking like that. If the people who made it not know what he looked like they probably did not know what they were printing was off.
At the beginning of JFK remember the part when they were placing the head of oswald on the body? Well they used masks and knock-outs to create the image.
It seems like this is more sloppy work then an attempt to insult.
Posted by gunner  in  Southern USA  on  Fri Mar 19, 2004  at  07:59 PM
I thought it was funny... Wish I could have bought a set of those... Instead I went for the Finding Nemo ones... DRAT!
Posted by Jules  in  Kahlifonia  on  Sun Mar 21, 2004  at  05:47 AM
Further evidence of a printing error:
The article linked to in this site's description of the incident describes the card as being from a set "Nickelodeon 34 Foil Valentines"- which leads me to the obvious conclusion that these cards were foil-stamped, and somehow the Spongebob sheets never made it through the foiling pass.

I'd guess that the black areas were meant to be gold or metallic yellow. Some of the black would be left showing, as outlines and for the inside of his mouth.

I work for a small greeting card company myself, but we print letterpress (Spongebob would have been offset) and I don't have any experince with foil-stamping, so if what I said doesn't make any sense, that's why.
Posted by Katey  in  MA  on  Tue Mar 23, 2004  at  09:45 PM
I still don't even see how people think this is offensive! A black spongebob would be great! They say it resembles stereotypes.. So, any black person smiling is a stereotype now? When the Harlem globe trotters were on scooby doo, were they offensive when they were drawn smiling?
geez... people are too offensive these days.
Posted by Tim  in  OH  on  Wed Mar 24, 2004  at  02:49 PM
The cartoon holding a toothbrush is almost certainly a 'recall card' - dentists offices order them out of catalogs ( which offer a huge variety) to send to patients to remind them it's time for a cleaning, or to confirm an appt, and virtually all of the thousands of cards avail had someone holding a toothbrush. Check dental supply catalogs , and you'll probably discover the origin of this . . .
Posted by Chrs  in  home  on  Tue Mar 30, 2004  at  06:35 PM
Offensive this image? Absurd! People who find offensive such images put probably pants on the table legs. Bigotry is not only religious.
Posted by Sandro  on  Wed Apr 21, 2004  at  06:39 AM
Why shouldn't there be a black SpongeBob? It is an equal opportunity society.
Posted by Graham  on  Sun Aug 21, 2005  at  07:52 AM
What people don't understand is that this is not a normal spongebob. Yes, a black spongebob would be great, but why does he have to have extremely large teeth & be black as tar- if they were aiming to make a spongebob that resemeled african americans they knew this spongebob was not made for that purpose.
Posted by nefab  on  Fri Oct 19, 2007  at  03:13 PM
wow how funny........NOT cheese
Posted by Brenda  in  warren  on  Wed Apr 16, 2008  at  02:31 PM
yall r sooooooooo childish
Posted by Brenda  in  warren  on  Wed Apr 16, 2008  at  02:31 PM
Are you sure that it wasn't supposed to be funny because the rest of SpongeBob was dirty while his teeth were clean? Rather than a racist card? I laughed.
Posted by Courtney  on  Mon Feb 15, 2010  at  07:48 PM
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