Nickelodeon pulls Made by Maddie due to plagiarism controversy

made by maddie
(Image credit: Nickelodeon )

Nickelodeon show, Made By Maddie – which was due to be aired on 13 September – has been pulled after a number of people called out its similarities to Matthew A. Cherry's Oscar-winning short, Hair Love. 

Hair Love is about a black father trying to care for his daughter's hair, while Made By Maddie is aimed at pre-schoolers, and follows Maddie in New York  "as she uses her imagination and design ingenuity to turn every problem into a positive with the perfect fashion fix". 

So the stories don't seem much alike, but the character designs have really got people talking. (For tips on making your own creations, see our character design tips). Take a look at Hair Love, below.

And compare it to Made By Maddie, below. The main criticisms seem to be that the families have similar hairstyles. The dads in both animations have long hair, the mums have curls and the little girls have pink headbands. There's also a grey cat in both creations. 

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People on Twitter were quick to point out the similarities.

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Hair Love's creator, Matthew A Cherry also RT'd several tweets about the debate. The one below shows Made By Maddie (top left) and three images from Hair Love.

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Many were suggesting that this can't be just coincidence. And some were even more disappointed to discover that Made By Maddie was created by a white woman, Paula Rosenthal.

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But does creating similar-looking characters amount to plagiarism? Nickelodeon has released a statement to say it is removing the show from its schedule, but does point out that it acquired Made by Maddie several years ago. 

"Made by Maddie is a show we acquired several years ago from Silvergate Media, a renowned production company we have previously worked with on other series. Since announcing the show’s premiere date this week, we have been listening closely to the commentary, criticism and concern coming from both viewers and members of the creative community.

"In response, and out of respect to all voices in the conversation, we are removing the show from our schedule as we garner further insight into the creative journey of the show. We are grateful to Silvergate Media for all of their work. And we hold Matthew A. Cherry and the wonderful and inspiring Hair Love in the highest regard."

For now, it seems we'll go back to watching Hair Love, and awaiting that animated spin-off, which Cherry has confirmed is in the works.

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Rosie Hilder

Rosie Hilder is Creative Bloq's Deputy Editor. After beginning her career in journalism in Argentina – where she worked as Deputy Editor of Time Out Buenos Aires – she moved back to the UK and joined Future Plc in 2016. Since then, she's worked as Operations Editor on magazines including Computer Arts, 3D World and Paint & Draw and Mac|Life. In 2018, she joined Creative Bloq, where she now assists with the daily management of the site, including growing the site's reach, getting involved in events, such as judging the Brand Impact Awards, and helping make sure our content serves the reader as best it can.