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Banned Episode

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Blame the fellas at the freakin' FCC!
"Only on Halloween... would we dare air an episode so controversial it's been banned from television for three years. Consider yourself warned."
1999 newspaper advert for the re-airing of The X-Files episode "Home"

Every once in a while, a series will have an episode that eventually draws in some kind of controversy, for whatever reason — be it offensive to certain viewers, too risqué for broadcast (or after viewer complaints), a result of Executive Meddling (this also includes if the episode or entire TV show becomes part of a lawsuit), or because a certain actor in the episode is suddenly part of a major legal controversy (up to and including getting in trouble for sexual misconduct) — and as a result, those episodes are pulled from the air, and very rarely, if ever, are seen in reruns, or syndication, ever again.

Distancing from current events is another reason why episodes may be removed from the schedules. If an episode's content is felt to be too reminiscent of a major Real Life event, that episode is likely to be withdrawn out of respect. However, it may be reinstated once enough time has passed (or, if the ban is still in place, then the episode will most likely be readily available elsewhere).

Depending on the popularity or cult following of the series, often these episodes still get some mileage, through tape tradings, or various posting on Internet video sharing sites such as YouTube.

Subtrope of Missing Episode. If an episode is pulled from certain markets while remaining available elsewhere, it's a case of Banned in China or (if it's for non-censorship reasons) No Export for You. If an episode is rerun with parts cut (whether for content reasons or not), then it's Edited for Syndication. If an episode is banned from broadcast, but still made available on home media, it's Too Hot for TV. Has nothing to do with Band Episode, which are about bands.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Cartoon Network stopped rerunning the Cowboy Bebop episode Cowboy Funk after 9/11 due to the plot being about a terrorist who destroyed tall buildings. It also stopped rerunning Wild Horses following the destruction of the Space Shuttle Columbia, as that episode featured the Columbia being brought out for one last mission. Both episodes were eventually reinstated in the show's lineup after several years, when the network decided that sufficient time had passed following the disasters that it would no longer be seen as disrespectful to show them.
  • Episodes 44, 45, and 46 were removed from the rotation of Digimon Adventure 02 once the show came under the jurisdiction of Jetix. They involve Ken and several other local children being abducted and Ken's teammates (most of whom are between the ages of eight and eleven) chasing the villains' truck overnight to rescue them. The episodes are still available as part of the season DVD set and on streaming services.
  • Back when Excel♡Saga first aired in Japan, the censors pulled the 26th and final episode of the series due to its offensive content (pedophilia, excessive bloodshed, and frontal nudity). The odd thing is that the creators wanted the episode to be so raunchy that it would get banned.
    • Even if a network had been willing to air it, the last episode of Excel♡Saga deliberately runs too long. It can't be aired in a standard time slot without cuts.
  • The first episode of Osomatsu-san has been banned for copyright reasons, as many of the parodies shown in the episode infringe on other manga. Episode 3 had an Anpanman parody removed from it due to complaints from Moral Guardians, and to compensate a new episode was animated and put on the video releases and reruns.
  • Outlaw Star's 23rd episode, "Hot Springs Planet Tenrei", was skipped during its Cartoon Network run due to excessive sexual innuendo and scenes of female nudity. When the show was first rerun on [adult swim], a block aimed at older audiences and potentially more willing to air the the content, the network nontheless decided not to air the episode. It wasn't until 2018 that the episode was broadcast on American television, albeit with a TV-MA rating and some minor censorship. The episode did air in the UK, but in a truncated form that was several minutes short. The DVD releases contain the uncut version.
  • The series premiere of Transformers: Robots in Disguise has Megatron smash through a skyscraper similar to the World Trade Center, originally aired three days after the 9/11 attacks. Because of this, the episode was pulled from rebroadcast.
    • To say the series was greatly affected by 9/11 during its original American run is an understatement. Making it worse is that the series' English dub has never been released on home video in the United States, as Disney technically owns the rights to the series, and is seemingly withholding it from release to deny Hasbro a source of revenue, meaning fans have to resort to YouTube or cartoon streaming sites to see the series.
      • The dub's second episode, which aired September 10, 2001, was also pulled due to the plot involving a race to find a bomb terrorists had hidden in a sports car.
      • Three episodes, "Attack From Outer Space", "Landfill" and "Sky-Byte Saves The Day", never saw US broadcast despite being fully dubbed and aired in other countries such as the UK, due to the plots heavily involving events that unintentionally resembled the 9/11 attacks.
      • After the initial broadcast of the fourth episode, it was completely redubbed in order to replace the risk of the plot-relevant generator exploding with a risk of it releasing a corrosive gas harmful to Transformers. The second dub is also what was used on the UK DVD releases, with the original version only surfacing as an off-air recording in 2013.
  • Sazae-san had an instance of a Banned Segment. The show originally ended with a short animation of Sazae throwing a bean or mochi rice cake and catching it in her mouth. After complaints from parents that their children tried to imitate this segment and choked doing so were sent in, it was replaced with a rock-paper-scissors match.

    Comic Books 
  • Hellblazer issue #141, "Shoot", was based on a school shooting. It was about to be printed when the Columbine massacre happened... The issue was eventually published as a special in 2010.
  • A Monica's Gang story titled "O Mônico" was published in the 1990s, but it was never reprinted and the animated adaptation deleted from YouTube after it was discovered that one frame showed Jimmy Five's penis completely uncensored. note 
  • Tomorrow Stories was intended to have a Cobweb "story" which consisted of Cobweb narrating a comic biography of the real-world rocket scientist and occultist Jack Parsons. DC refused to print it because it described the alleged involvement of L. Ron Hubbard in ritual magic and questionable financial dealings in the years before he founded the Church of Scientology, which they feared would get them in trouble with the Scientologists. The item was eventually printed in a Top Shelf anthology called Top Shelf Asks The Big Questions, with the Cobweb transparently renamed as La Toile, a French translation that had already been used in the main series as the alias of an earlier Cobweb who lived in France. However, the incident heavily contributed to Alan Moore's second break with DC.
  • Judge Dredd had the infamous "Hamburger War" in the "Cursed Earth" story arc. Published during the late The '70s, it involved Dredd stumbling across a literal fast food war between the Burger King Creeps from Burgerville and the McDonald's Marauders from McDonald City. Surprising no one, the owners of these trademarked characters did not take kindly to their inclusion in this tale.note  The publisher IPC decided to settle the copyright issue out of court and retract the storyline from later reprinted editions of "The Cursed Earth" before things got out of control. However, the year 2014 brought a change to UK copyright law allowing these comics to be printed again.

    Comic Strips 
  • A strip from Get Fuzzy drew in plenty of controversy, because of supposed implications that Boston TV and radio sportscaster Bob Lobel is an alcoholic. While some newspapers had a "censored" version published by replacing Lobel's name with a simple "him", the strip is excluded entirely in subsequent Get Fuzzy collection and treasury books, in part because Lobel sued and won against a Boston area paper that carried it.
  • King Features refused to run a series of Popeye strips drawn by Bobby London (the strip's artist at the time) that entailed Olive trying to return a "Cabbage Patch Bluto". It was construed as a metaphor for abortion, especially once some priests come by to talk her out of it. They instead reprinted an arc from Bud Sagendorf's run on the strip, and never went back to running new weekday strips. Since that time (almost 30 years ago), Popeye has only had new strips on Sundays, making the banned strips a series killer.
  • The Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin tries to take a bath in the washing machine was removed from newspapers and isn't included in the paperback collections, presumably because parents didn't want their kids imitating the act.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Little Rascals:
    • Several episodes have been withheld from all syndication rerun packages since 1971, mostly for heavy black stereotyping. The banned list includes the following shorts:
      • "Lazy Days" (1929) — Depicts young African-American Farina as stereotypically — and exaggeratedly — lazy.
      • "Moan & Groan, Inc." (1929) — Features comedian Max Davidson, well known for playing an exaggerated Jewish American stereotype.
      • "A Tough Winter" (1930) — Features comedian Stepin Fetchit, well known for playing an exaggerated African-American stereotype.
      • "Little Daddy" (1931) — Supposedly banned because the story involves African-American kids Farina and Stymie living on their own while their father is in jail.
      • "Big Ears" (1931) — Wheezer's parents threaten to get a divorce.
      • "A Lad an' a Lamp" (1932) — The kids believe that Stymie's younger brother has turned into a monkey.
      • "The Kid from Borneo" (1933) — The kids mistake a black "wild man" for their uncle.
    • The first Little Rascals sound short, "Small Talk", was removed from the package sometime in the 1980s, supposedly due to concerns about its length and sound quality. The second sound short, "Railroadin'", has never been shown on television, as its soundtrack was lost when the TV package was initially sold. Some stations reportedly didn't run "The First Seven Years", supposedly because it featured a violent swordfight sequence.
    • For some time, the MGM "Little Rascals" package removed all of the episodes featuring the character Butch due to a lawsuit filed by actor Tommy Bond for using his likeness without his permission.
  • The Three Stooges: During a period of time in the 1970s, several TV stations across the US banned They Stooge to Conga (1943) due to its extreme violent nature throughout the film (indeed, Jules White considered it the peak of the series' violence, with such acts as a climbing spike being jammed into Moe's eye, scalp, and ear, Moe using a blow torch on Curly's butt in revenge, a wooden post hitting Moe in the neck and actually injuring him, and Curly being charged up "light a lightbulb" and being shorted with a hammer and a lightbulb), and The Yoke's on Me (1944) due to its mistreating racial views towards Asian Americans when several Japanese Men escape from a relocation center and all of them would later be killed after Curly throws an egg-shaped grenade at them at the end of the film. Some stations also refused to air shorts featuring African-American supporting actor Dudley Dickerson.
  • After film producer and co-founder of Miramax and The Weinstein Company Harvey Weinstein was accused and later convicted of sexual assault and rape, many TV channels refused to broadcast the vast majority of his films, particularly from the latter company, he produced because of this. This does not apply to streaming services and home-media, however.
  • Life of Brian: Due its controversial nature (being a comedy about someone living during the time of Jesus Christ), the film was banned in several countries. Notably, it being banned in Norway caused Sweden to market it as "so funny the Norwegians banned it".

  • Sherlock Holmes features one of the oldest examples: after "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box" was serialized in The Strand, Arthur Conan Doyle asked that it not be collected with the other stories that made up The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, supposedly due to its Darker and Edgier content. Both UK and US publishers (barring a first-print from the latter) honored this up until the publication of His Last Bow, about twenty-five years later (with Doyle even repurposing the Sherlock Scan scene from the beginning for "The Resident Patient" in the collection).
  • The Hunger Games trilogy includes an in-universe example. The Fiftieth Hunger Games (won by District 12's Haymitch Abernathy) were never televised again after their initial run, though Katniss wonders if they might have been repeated before she was old enough to remember. However, when she and Peeta finally get to watch Haymitch's Games (the tapes of all the other living victors were sent to them as part of their preparations for the third Quarter Quell) they learn that he won by using the force-field around the arena to deflect an axe back at his final opponent. Since tributes are not supposed to know about the force-field, much less use it as a weapon, this was seen as an act of rebellion which not only led to the Fiftieth Games being pulled from the schedules but also led to serious repercussions for Haymitch.

    Music and Music Videos 
  • Nine Inch Nails' infamous music video for "Happiness in Slavery" was universally banned due to its extremely unsettling gore, as well as Male Frontal Nudity.
  • The video for the Robbie Williams song "Rock DJ" was banned in multiple countries due to graphic gore (the singer tears off his skin, muscles, and organs until he is nothing more than a dancing skeleton).
  • A number of SiIvaGunner rips over the years have been taken down by the team themselves with no intention to reupload them, usually due to Sensory Abuse or general poor quality. Of course, there are the occasional outliers, such as a Kirby: Planet Robobot rip that included an image of a baby with harlequin ichthyosis (which led to the ripper's removal from the collective), and a WarioWare rip removed due to lyrics that could be seen as pedophilic. The Lost Media Wiki keeps a fairly thorough list of banned rips and the reasons behind their removal.
  • Eminem:
    • The original version of "My Name Is" was blocked by Labi Siffre, whose song "I Got The" was Sampled Up for "My Name Is", who objected to some comedy homophobia ("my English teacher wanted to have sex in junior high. The only problem was, my English teacher was a guy... [...] "runnin' over pedestrians, rapin' lesbians, while they screamin' at me, "let's just be frieeeends!"") and pulled permission to use the interpolation until it was removed. This version was released on a promo 12 inch single for DJs, but the version on the album and CD single alters the lyrics (Slim's teacher's now trying to keep him Held Back in School, and runs over pedestrians in a spaceship).
    • Many of Eminem's Slim Shady EP songs will never be re-released in their original form because of issues with sample clearance. In particular, "Murder, Murder", built out of a sample of Paul Simon's "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover", turned up on the soundtrack to Next Friday with a replaced instrumental.
    • Eminem's TV Spot for Relapse, showing Eminem in a Blood Bath, got banned for excessive gore. (Which may have been the point.)

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Following the Chris Benoit double murder/suicide, the WWE went about deleting any mention of Benoit from any of its past archives, regardless of the importance of his involvement in any particular storyline of that time. It led to the WWE not showing certain matches that involved Benoit in any way. When the WWE had its Classics On Demand service, for example, the War Games 1997 match was not on the list of viewable War Games matches because of Benoit's involvement. It got to the point where many fans were willing to at least let WWE acknowledge his existence, especially after the revelation of Benoit's severe brain damage being the likely cause. Most Benoit footage was reintroduced when the WWE launched the WWE Network (which includes near the entire WWWF/WWF/WWE, WCW, ECW and other video library), but with the same Parental Advisory Warning that they usually show before a program that might contain any aspect of its "Attitude Era". Further, Benoit cannot be searched out individually as his name yields next to no results and he is not in event descriptions, instead replaced by something along the lines of X in a Y stipulation match for Z, X obviously being Benoit's opponent for that match. Certain pay-per-view posters remove or replace Benoit and the match he no-showed during the incident was edited to remove any commentary mention of him, and the tribute show that was aired for him before the circumstances of the tragedy became known was replaced by the program shown in the internationally aired version of the same time slot, a highlight reel showing some championship matches.

    Video Games 
  • Mario Party contains mini-games that require players to quickly rotate the control stick, and many players ended up with burns on the palms of their hands as a result. This led to a class action lawsuit that Nintendo lost, forcing them to pay thousands of dollars in damage reparations as a result. This was the reason why the game wasn't included in any system's Virtual Console nor did it have any sort of re-release until the Nintendo Switch Online service 24 years later, as well as why control stick rotating mini-games aren't in any other Mario Party titlesnote  until Island Tour, with The Top 100 additionally bringing back one of the controversial mini-games from the original; however, this is alleviated by the 3DS's Circle Pad being safer. And again in Superstars on the Nintendo Switch, now with a safety warning before the minigame begins.
    • Mario Party 3 was also never released on Virtual Console, most likely due to the Game Guy Spaces and their gambling minigames, which could get the game a higher rating in countries that have a low opinion of the subject (or in the case of South Korea and Belgium, outright ban depictions of gambling). It was eventually confirmed to be re-released on Nintendo Switch Online alongside 1, nearly 22 years after its original release.
  • The PS2/Xbox game The Guy Game was recalled and pulled from shelves after it turned out that one of the girls featured in the risque FMV sequences was underage at the time of filming. But since there's No Such Thing as Bad Publicity, a DVD version of the game titled The Guy Game: Game Over was soon published which featured even more footage of girls... while naturally cutting the illegal material.

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends: While part 1 for "Wishy Washy" is still available on YouTube, part 2 was removed for violating its terms of service. It's speculated that Lumpy's death and hideous corpse and/or Petunia's death, especially since it's a suicide attempt, was the reason for the video's removal. Even the episode that featured it, "Four on the Floor", was removed from YouTube for the same reason.
  • There were several instances of this in Paramount Logo Bloopers, a series by Taylor Enterprises which was inspired by Looney Tunes Intro Bloopers:
    • Taylor decided to remove the sixth episode from YouTube for some reason. In fact, the fake DVD cover for Season One of the show even says, "Includes all 10 episodes from Season 1 (except Episode 6)." and "Episode 6 has been banned due to the creator not liking it." However, another user named TrickyMario7654 reuploaded a fake TV broadcast that includes the episode, and this "broadcast" was later reuploaded by Taylor himself.
    • Taylor also removed Episode 25 from his channel for some personal reason. However, it was reuploaded by TrickyMario7654 and can still be seen on Taylor's channel in another fake TV broadcast.
    • After the show started a running gag of PSA's appearing in the logo, Episode 33 got criticized for the inclusion of a couple of "gruesome" PSA's and was removed by Taylor as a result. Once again, this episode was reuploaded by TrickyMario7654, and someone else uploaded a censored version without those two PSA's. This controversy also caused the death of the running gag with the PSA's.
    • The original Episode 37 was made without much effort, as Taylor was feeling depressed. He took this episode down and made a replacement Episode 37. The original was believed to be lost until it surfaced on another channel belonging to Taylor.
    • Taylor later removed the replacement Episode 37 due to controversy over Sam calling Scotty a "dicksucking faggot". Episode 32, which uses the same phrase, along with Episode 50, which also features this F-word, got removed as well. These episodes were reuploaded to the Internet Archive by Toodle-oo Enterprises.

    Web Original 
  • Steve D'Monster . “You Can Be Fat Houndstooth” (S2) featured a Running Gag of curses cut short, which was ultimately met with negative reaction, which prompted the entry to be taken down from YouTube altogether.
  • SuperMarioLogan the SML Short "Jeffy's Tantrum" is no longer available on YouTube, due to a British seven-year-old attempting to hang himself in alleged imitation of Jeffy.