Velma TV show appears to joke about Sickle Cell

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Velma is the adult animated mystery comedy series based on the character Velma Dinkley, from the popular Scooby-Doo franchise. Despite receiving some of the worst reviews in IMDb history, the HBO Max spin-off show has somehow been renewed for another season. But the animation has recently been called out by health associations for its “insensitive” sickle cell joke.

The new cartoon Velma has received harsh criticism again after viewers vented their outrage at the “insensitive” humour.

The show didn’t wait long to deliver the joke, as it was uttered by Fred (Glenn Howerton) in the first episode.

The joke attempted to tie attractiveness to the blood disorder sickle cell anaemia, after Velma (Mindy Kaling), fumes that old school pal Fred doesn’t recognise her.

Fred replied: “I have a disease where I can’t recognize people who aren’t hot. My doctor says it’s basically sickle cell for rich people.”

The joke didn’t deliver the humorous intent it wanted as fans were quick to vent their disappointment on social media.

Twitter user @Memej99 shared a recording of the scene and reacted in a thread.

They wrote: “#SickleCell isn’t some punchline to put in an @hbomax show. We are discriminated against in healthcare, which causes further harm to our physical and mental health.

“Ignorant jokes like this make it that much harder for systemic changes to occur for better treatment of sickle cell patients.”

Another Twitter user @WhitneyPyant explained why comedian Kaling had yet again faced backlash over her content used in the animated series.

She tweeted: “She wrote an insensitive joke about Sickle Cell on Velma. I’m sorry but she deserves the backlash. You never make fun of people’s medical conditions.”

@SimmerShymamii echoed: “I was excited about “Velma”, especially a WOC Velma! However, being in the hospital due to a sickle cell crisis all just to hear a tasteless joke about the same disease killing your friends DAILY …. Hit different @mindykaling.”

A third angry viewer @DPGBehler added: “Of all the things to hate about the show, that is the lowest of the totem pole.”

The controversial comment even pushed the nonprofit organisation, Sickle Cell 101, who runs a platform to raise awareness of the disease, to address the so-called joke.

The organisation asked its social media followers if the moment was “offensive” and a “bad joke”.

Replies to their question consisted of comments like “terrible” and “ridiculous” to “not funny at all” and, “yes, very offensive” to people living with the disorder.

However, this wasn’t the first time the spin-off cartoon has been slammed for inappropriate content, as it has been repeatedly called out over topics such as sexualizing minors and pushing a woke agenda.

During episode four, titled Velma Makes a List, the cartoon made multiple jokes about children in a sexual manner.

The programme showed the town’s mayor lusting after high school girls, with another episode featuring Velma going to a strip club and pole dancing in front of her own father. has contacted HBO Max for a comment regarding the criticism.

Velma Season 1 is streaming on HBO Max in the UK.

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