Netflix Accused of Whitewashing Characters of Color in 'Magic School Bus' Reboot

Social media users pointed out that the show's two black characters, Keesha and Tim, were whitewashing in the reboot, which launched on Netflix in 2017.

Although Netflix released a reboot of the hit PBS animated series, The Magic School Bus, in 2017, the series is trending on social media over the change in appearance of the show's amazing frizzy-haired science teacher Ms Valerie Frizzle, who took kids on a whirlwind adventures on her school bus to explore the wonders of science.

Twitter users re-expressed their displeasure over the new aesthetic of their favorite red-haired character on the platform only to find out that the new Ms Frizzle in the reboot is the original Ms Frizzle's younger sister, Fiona Frizzle.

Magic School Bus
Twitter

The buzz on social media stirred up a debate on the change of appearance of some of the characters in the Netflix reboot. Some social media users pointed out that the skin tone of two of the animated show's black characters, Keesha Franklin and Tim Wright, was lightened in the newer version of the cartoon, sharing side-by-side comparisons of the characters.

Some even drew attention to the fact that they whitewashed, Wanda Li, an Asian character in the reboot.

Reactions on Social Media

Netflix drew criticism from Twitter users who slammed the streaming giant for whitewashing the characters in its reboot.

"Why does Netflix keep lightening black people? They literally made them biracial" wrote one user, while another commented, "Very angry no one is talking about the horrible whitewashing you can't look at these and seriously tell me they are even the same characters."

"Making them light skinned is just whitewashing in disguise," opined yet another. "They're still black then why lighten it to begin with?"

Netflix's Racism, Whitewashing Controversies

This is not the first time Netflix has been accused of whitewashing a cartoon. In December, the streaming platform faced accusations of lack of diversity in its live-action adaptation of the Nickelodeon cartoon The Winx Club, shortly after releasing the show's trailer. Netflix was called out by fans for replacing an Asian and a Latina character in the show with white actresses.

In 2018, Netflix was accused of using racist marketing practices after viewers noticed that it advertised ad posters with black cast members (despite them having less prominent roles in the film) to bait black viewers into watching a white film.

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