'Rudolph' Voice Actor Says Criticism of Holiday Classic as Sexist, Bigoted Misses the Point

For some, the classic holiday movie about a downtrodden reindeer named Rudolph rings less holly and jolly and more sexist and bigoted. One of the actors who voiced the rejected reindeer, however, said such criticism missed the point of the film.

Corinne Conley voiced the doll Sue, part of the island of misfit toys, in the 1964 film, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Conley told TMZ this week that she was shocked by claims that some viewers perceived the movie as bigoted, sexist and promoting bullying.

The actor acknowledged that in the modern world, people are more sensitive to bullying than in generations past, but added that critics are missing the point of the film.

"I don't think by getting sensitive to bullying, that you want to copy it, you want to get rid of it and certainly in Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer everybody is reconciled happily at the end of the movie," she said. "And let's hope in today's society that the things that people are bullying about can also be rectified."

Conley added that instead of shying away from the film in the modern age, people should embrace it even more because of its relevance to the world we live in. Given the level of bullying that's occurring on a daily basis, the actor claimed the message of reconciliation that Rudolph sends is a positive one for people of all ages.

"I don't think people are tempted to bully so much if they watch nice warm hearted shows like Rudolph," Conley said.

rudolph criticism corinne conley
A man dressed as Santa Claus sits in a sled at the presidential palace in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on December 19, 2015.. Corinne Conley, a voice actor, dismissed criticism of the film "Rudolph" for being sexist and bigoted. SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images

After over 50 years of having her name on the credits of the film, Conley told TMZ that she's had people start to cry when they find out she was in the movie. If viewers watched the film and took away a negative message about bullying, she said they wouldn't cry over the film.

"Surely people wouldn't love it so much if it left feelings of bullying," the actor said of the popular holiday film.

On Wednesday, HuffPost published a video about some fans' negative opinion of the film, claiming it was racist, bigoted and promoted abusive relationships.

Among the criticism included critiques of how Rudolph's father, Donner, spoke to his son, which some labeled as being verbally abusive. The character was also judged for not allowing his wife to join the hunt to look for Rudolph after he went missing.

The school coach, meanwhile, was viewed by some as problematic for encouraging the bullying of Rudolph by excluding him from reindeer games. Other criticisms were leveled at Clarice, Rudolph's love interest, having a bigoted father who said her daughter couldn't date a reindeer with a red nose and at the elf being outcast for wanting to become a dentist.

While some agreed that Rudolph wasn't really the joyous underdog movie people perceived it to be, others, like Conley, defended the movie.

"He is a kid that nobody believes in, suddenly they realize he's special," The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg said in defense of the film. "Where's the problem?"

.@WhoopiGoldberg has one question for critics throwing shade at the classic holiday movie 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' ... pic.twitter.com/H8YeHT74ju

— The View (@TheView) December 2, 2018

As far as the critics are concerned, Conley said that she hopes they're not watching the film, but if they do, she hopes they learn a lesson from it.

"I can't imagine it affecting anyone in a negative way," the voice actor said. "They must be like Scrooge, tell them to watch Scrooge."