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.
Dream it, draw it, make it! Made by Maddie is coming to the Nick Jr. channel September 13th 👗 pic.twitter.com/XBBLbt6eZ2August 31, 2020
People on Twitter were quick to point out the similarities.
Why do these characters look exactly like the family in Matthew Cherry's 'Hair Love', like down to the cat? 😒September 1, 2020
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.
🧐🤔 https://t.co/7bp1Iws12XSeptember 2, 2020
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.
Nickelodeon is in hot water yet again, as Made By Maddie, the show they seem to be shelving to Nick Jr, is under fire for ripping off the Oscar Winning short and soon to be series Hair Love, down to the design of the cat. It's also catching flack for being made by a white woman. pic.twitter.com/c2YTdFTH0gSeptember 2, 2020
The Director of Made By Maddie was fully aware of Hair Love's existence. Him & I were at the same animation workshop led by @MatthewACherry talmbout the making of the movie (which included SHOWING designs). This is art theft &Disregard for Black creators & their art PERIOD. https://t.co/bWsylLOzWySeptember 4, 2020
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.