The children's cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants is accused of normalizing the "violent" and "racist" colonization of indigenous areas.
The popular show, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, was criticized in a report by Professor Holly M Barker of the University of Washington.
She wrote, "SpongeBob Squarepants and his friends play a role in normalizing the settler colonization of indigenous lands as they drive the regulars out of their non-fictional homeland."
The beloved Nickelodeon show follows the loveable sea sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea while he spends his life in Bikini Bottom.
Professor Barker believes that the underwater city is a reference to the real Bikini Atoll on the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
Natives were relocated from the atoll so that the US military could use the area for nuclear testing during the Cold War.
This has led to fan theories that the cartoon residents of Bikini Bottom owe their mutation to the tests.
Professor Barker, in her report titled Unsettling SpongeBob and the legacy of the violence on Bikini Bottom, says that the cartoon of the "whitewash of violent American military activities" is guilty.
In the article, which is fully seen by Fox News, the professor continues, "SpongeBob's presence on Bikini Bottom continues the violent and racial displacement of indigenous peoples from their country (and in this case, their cosmos), who Hegemonic powers enable their military to expand and colonial interests in the postwar period. "
Professor Barker also accuses the show of the cultural appropriation of the Pacific Native Americans. Some characters wear Hawaiian shirts, others live in pineapple and Easter Island houses.
The researcher acknowledges that the authors were unlikely to colonize the series, but added that she was not annoyed that "Bikini Bottom" and "Bikini Atoll" were not [the writers’] take away ".
Professor Barker adds that SpongeBob Squarepants could make children "culturally conform to an ideology that includes the US character SpongeBob, who lives in the home of another people."
The article ends with, "We should be uncomfortable with the hamburger occupying the Bikini Lagoon and undermining every aspect of sovereignty."
The report was published in a journal entitled "The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Icelandic Affairs" and is intended to publish articles on "social, economic, political, environmental and cultural issues".