Controversial Mascot Chiitan's Expulsion from Twitter Continues
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
The wacky character mascot Chiitan is finding it even more difficult to share its antics on Twitter. Following the suspension of its Japanese, Korean, Brazilian, Arabic, and Turkish accounts this week, the promotional team found that the "0-year-old fairy baby" otter's English Twitter account @ogecebel and the account for Chiitan's turtle hat @macegem are now suspended as well. Both accounts were previously verified with a blue check-mark by Twitter prior to the suspension.
Chiitan's promotional team told Anime News Network, "We are uncertain why this suspension came to us so abruptly. As far as my knowledge of how Twitter operates, accounts who have violated the rules of Twitter would get some warning beforehand (similar to a three-strike policy). Upon repeated offenses, the account may be permanently suspended. Other than the mascot's somewhat dangerous antics we have never tweeted anything that would be problematic (e.g. discriminatory or threatening). We are still in talks with Twitter Support at this time."
Team Chiitan previously told Anime News Network that "many entertainment-related accounts in Japan" are experiencing temporary suspensions but eventually have their accounts restored.
In the meantime, the promo staff have opened the @HelpChiitan Twitter account to drum up support for the mascot. There is also a Change.org petition. The petition organizers originally hoped to get 1,000 signatures and, having achieved that goal, set the next number at 5,000. A total of 3,660 fans have signed the petition as of this writing.
Chiitan's Twitter accounts have disappeared but the mascot is still active on the streets of Japan. Chiitan's team told ANN that the mascot is out with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu shooting a segment for the Internet TV station AbemaTV today. Its other social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook remain unaffected.
Chiitan is an unofficial otter mascot that wears a turtle on its head and sometimes climbs dancer poles for fun. The mascot found itself in hot water earlier this year because it bears resemblance to the official mascot of the Japanese city Susaki, named Shinjō-kun. The city also had a real otter as a mascot, also named Chiitan, to promote the area's tourism. The similarities and the unofficial Chiitan's antics (which include flipping a car) lead to complaints to Susaki officials.This lead to Susaki to not renew the real Chiitan otter's status as tourism ambassador.
Susaki officials' concern about Chiitan damaging Shinjō-kun's image led to a city filing an temporary injunction on February 16. During this period, Chiitan's owners will not be able to use the mascot's image or wear its costume in public. The character was scheduled to star in its own anime series in April but the series is officially delayed.
Chiitan's crazy antics drew the attention of late night talk show host John Oliver last month. Chiitan responded to Oliver's segment by giving him the nick name "Mr. British Birb" and offering to fight him in a no holds barred match.
Source: E-mail correspondence with Team Chiitan