Perhaps its the pure boredom of life in quarantine or the evolution of wild right-wing conspiracy theories that has everyone searching for vast conspiracies these days. The latest, which cropped up this weekend and went viral on Twitter, is that Cartoon Network has a programming block called Adult Swim.
A woman, known on Twitter as @soonergurl74, posted on Saturday night a video she found highly offensive because it appeared on the usually kid-friendly Cartoon Network. She claimed the video was of “witches abusing babies” and part of a widespread campaign to trick children into watching disturbing images. The clip was from the networks’ late-night block of Adult Swim content, which is usually rated TV-14 or above and has existed since since 2001.
Hey lady, how about you tuck your kid in at a earlier time before Adult Swim airs…. pic.twitter.com/dlUdYvTdx9
— Mayfield Stan (@Tv1xxV) July 19, 2020
Adult Swim isn’t new, though its hours have extended in recent years to begin at 8 p.m. and run until 6 a.m. The block has been a showcase for a lot of adult animation, including Rick and Morty. It’s existed for decades, and the idea that it is an attempt to subvert the thinking of children is pretty silly. The name of the block is a reference to the very idea that children should be out of the proverbial pool, and there’s a content warning played between the block’s infamous bumps that reminds people that children should not be watching.
#Karens: how dare Adult Swim show my child this content it is irresponsible!!!!
Adult Swim at the beginning of their program: pic.twitter.com/0Duw90ogbA
— Tek-no (@Teknoh2) July 19, 2020
A second tweet, which went out when a lot of people pointed out that Adult Swim is A Thing and has been A Thing for A While, doubled down on what she believed to be a vast conspiracy at play at Williams Street in Atlanta, saying in part “when the darkness is exposed, the demons start panicking.”
For a reason, Karen
As in, not for children, playtime is over, send them to bed pic.twitter.com/mdrmSrDjxx
— Archon The Dying (@ArchonOf) July 19, 2020
The moment drew a lot of reaction online, especially from people who know that sometimes cartoons are made with adults in mind.
Karen: Tries to cancel adult swim
Any other type of person: pic.twitter.com/uervwTMeKq
— Jackson Lockhart (@_Jack_lockhart) July 19, 2020
Karen: “WhEn ThE DaRkneSs is exposed ThE DeMons STart PANicKing.”
Adult swim: pic.twitter.com/qAgt0AzqRm
— Justin 🧟♂️ (@Justincookin) July 19, 2020
*Sees Adult Swim trending*
What the fuck is going on here?*clicks*
*sees the reason why Adult Swim is trending*
If your child is still up by time Cartoon Network switches over to Adult Swim, that's simply on you. Should've put your kid to bed at 7:50pm, dumb fucks. pic.twitter.com/DZnsjnyQCt
— 𝗔𝗟𝗘𝗫||#BLM✊🏾 (@OnyxScholar21) July 19, 2020
Karens recently discovering Adult Swim and not knowing it's been around since 2001. pic.twitter.com/ggdvVLeBo4
— MisAnthro Pony (@MisAnthroPony) July 19, 2020
I know you not acting like cartoon network doesn't literally say goodnight to the children and that adult swim puts a warning before the shows start 🗿 pic.twitter.com/m0mQUiYvU7
— chile.. (@Nyleah8) July 19, 2020
Adult Swim is called "Adult" Swim for a reason, if you don't want your child watching it do one of the following three
1.) Change the fucking channel
2.) Turn off the tv
3.) Put your child to sleep at a reasonable hour pic.twitter.com/zV7hC8SebE
— ZenoIsRandom (@zenoisrandomYT) July 19, 2020
As many pointed out, it’s not like “Cartoon Network after 8 p.m.” is the only place you can get adult animation these days, either.
Adult Swim like much other comedy on TV has been a longtime victim of shitty parenting
Some boomers are so far behind they don’t even know what a fucking remote control is pic.twitter.com/raH5dmVVxx
— El Grando Smokio (@LosSantosA2TMFK) July 19, 2020
It’s a funny viral moment because a woman overreacted when learning about the existence of Adult Swim, sure, but it also goes to show just how small, coincidental things can quickly get blown out of proportion and into something much greater if people aren’t careful. Just last week the home goods company Wayfair became the subject of a viral conspiracy that children were being trafficked in expensive cabinetry that coincidently shared names with people. Believers in the Qanon conspiracy theory — which states that leading Democrats are part of a worldwide cabal of child predators and sex traffickers — are currently running for congress. The woman whose tweet went viral has a Qanon hashtag in the bio of her now-protected account, so it’s clear she’s into this kind of thing and believed she stumbled upon the next big conspiracy. It’s a slippery slope, and it really is as simple as someone not knowing a thing exists and then wildly grafting the pieces together to will something into existence.
If Adult Swim really is part of a vast conspiracy, though, the least they could do is get us some new episodes of Home Movies.