How #RIPCartoonNetwork Confused the Web

cartoon network logo on gravestone  next to hastags for #ripcartoonnetwork
RIP Cartoon Network EleniVasiliou/Shutterstock Coosh448/Shutterstock TehMelvinborgFan7781 NAUTTP/YouTube Remix by Caterina Rose Cox

Over the past week, rumors spread that the beloved animation channel Cartoon Network had been closed down. The hashtag #RIPCartoonNetwork on X is full of fans eulogizing the studio that impacted every generation since millennials with shows like “Johnny Bravo,” “Dexter’s Laboratory,” and “Flapjack.”

Though Cartoon Network has been gutted in recent years — with its original building since 2000 closing in 2023 and layoffs impacting 82 staffers in 2022 — it does still exist, just in a much skinnier form. Olan Rogers, who helped create the Cartoon Network series “Final Space,” tweeted that the studio was “more gutted than dead.”

The #RIPCartoonNetwork rumors started swirling after the Animation Workers Ignited, a group dedicated to helping the animation industry unionize, posted a video voiced by Adam Conover discussing the industry’s canceled projects and laid-off artists. It ended with a call to action to use the hashtag and share what your favorite canceled Cartoon Network project was. 

The video was viewed over nine million times and thousands flocked to social media to share their condolences. While many shared clips of their favorite shows or shared their experiences working on shows, others joined in wishing farewell.

RIP Cartoon Network

“It’s the end of an era. Cartoon Network has officially shut down,” wrote one user who was corrected by a Community Note.

This is far from the first time the hashtag has been used. It goes as far back as when X was Twitter in 2012 and when the physical studio closed in 2022.

Corporate consolidation has effectively demolished a lot of the creative industry. With layoffs and mergers leading the headlines almost every week, it feels like soon artificial intelligence will be the only thing cheap enough to exist in Hollywood.

One of the hardest-hit industries has been animation — because drawing hundreds of individual pictures is a pretty expensive labor of love. 

From “Ice Age” creator BlueSky Studios getting eaten by Disney and then dissolved in 2021, to Lucasfilm killing its animation department in 2023, there are fewer places to make it an animator. If you do manage to find a job, the pay can be extremely low and the hours brutal.

The Animation Guild has been around since 1952, but a lot has changed since the days of Chuck Jones and Walt Disney. Freelancing and long hours are now the norm, with workers’ rights being overshadowed by big studio cost-cutting. If a slightly confusing hashtag gets the word out about an industry suffering, then I’m all for it.

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