If you’ve even slightly looked at the internet since the debut of The Mandalorian, then there’s an 800% chance you’ve seen “Baby Yoda” staring back at you. The little guy’s goddamn everywhere, and even my cold, dead heart is having a hard time resisting his cuteness as he mesmerizes both of my kids, which is pretty amazing in the case of my tween son because, last time I checked, Baby Yoda isn’t Fortnite. Christ, while filming the third episode, Werner Herzog would literally talk and coo at the thing like it was an actual baby because Lucasfilm are just that good at crafting adorable, life-like sci-fi creatures. There’s a reason you can’t escape the bugger.
So, naturally, social media has done what it does best and reacted very strongly to misinformation that Disney is reportedly pulling Baby Yoda GIFs over copyright claims. Just in the past half hour, this tweet has picked up over 10,000 Likes with no signs of slowing down.
would love to know which galaxy brain exec thought that murdering the free, unlimited user-generated marketing campaign would be a good idea https://t.co/eu0W1q64o9— rat king (@MikeIsaac) November 25, 2019
Here’s the thing: Disney didn’t pull the GIFs. In fact, if anyone actually engaged with the IGN article instead of just retweeting the headline and/or hot take, here’s the update that would immediately greet them:
GIPHY has sent out the following statement about the missing Baby Yoda GIFs…
“Last week, there was some confusion around certain content uploaded to GIPHY and we temporarily removed these GIFs while we reviewed the situation. We apologize to both Disney and Vulture for any inconvenience, and we are happy to report that the GIFs are once again live on GIPHY.”
So here’s what happened. According to the BBC, there was some internal confusion at GIPHY, so the company put a pause on the rapid uploading of Baby Yoda GIFs to “review the situation.” This pause caused Vulture writer Kathryn VanArendonk to accuse Disney of pulling the GIFs in a series of now-deleted tweets. However, as of this writing, that accusation is still being reported in her accompanying Vulture piece that… cites her own tweets as a source. Oh no.
The people embraced Baby Yoda, who was sweet and good and very tiny. But then Disney decided that GIFs of this beautiful being should be removed from the internet!
As of this writing, that piece has not been updated, but VanArendonk is doing her best to spit out the raging fire that she started.
it’s true, the gifs are back!!! https://t.co/2A0C6VFx9P— Kathryn VanArendonk (@kvanaren) November 25, 2019
THE GIFS ARE BACK EVERYBODY STAND DOWN https://t.co/wXvR7JLbXH— Kathryn VanArendonk (@kvanaren) November 25, 2019
What’s the lesson here? First and foremost, social media is a toilet. So really think hard if you want to pull out one of its numerous turds and polish it for #content. Second, I know the cool, hip thing to do is to reflexively trash Disney for its monopolistic stranglehold on Hollywood, which for the record, is not an inherently wrong reaction. However, it really doesn’t help The Cause when you start flinging mud at the slightest whiff of cApItALi$m without applying a minimal amount of critical thinking and/or research. In this case, simply clicking on a link, which would instantly tell you that the information you’re mad about it is spectacularly wrong. I know it’s important to look like a diehard comrade on the Twitter machines, but mostly, you just look like a crazy zealot who no one should take seriously.
Don’t take my word for it. Go ahead and tell this guy he just failed the purity test.
Yesterday I went into the Cantina at the new Star Wars land at Disneyland and the bartender leans over, sneakily gives me this, and whispers, “It’s not often we get a Resistance General in here. Thank you for your service.” I almost cried. pic.twitter.com/JM2YpRo2aF— Tom Morello (@tmorello) October 20, 2019
Header Image Source: Lucasfilm/Disney