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Unacceptable Targets

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"Some of the papers ran slanderous stories saying the nuns cohabited with the marchers, and I made a bad joke about how I'd come down to get a little of that action, and Harry Belafonte grabbed me by the throat. He was not amused."
Alan King on why you should rethink inviting a stand-up comic to your civil rights march

This is Unacceptable Targets; the flip side of Acceptable Targets, things that simply are not done. Doing so may result in anything from "Dude, Not Funny!" to the entire audience staring at you in Stunned Silence for a split second before breaking out the Torches and Pitchforks. Comedians, critics or other individuals who gladly cross all the lines will still stop at this one, no matter how bold they are. In short, some things are just unacceptable.

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A Black Comedy will demonstrate its meanness (depending on the writers behind it) by mocking these mercilessly; this can cause the cancellation of particular series for jokes considered too offensive or tasteless. If Unacceptable Targets is somehow made funny, it almost always belongs to the Crosses the Line Twice category. Not to say that there is no such thing as Affectionate Parody. Humor can be constructed in a way that reveres and respects its targets or makes them appear all the more awesome. Still, comedy is a difficult business and sometimes even jokes meant to be respectful can be misinterpreted. As a result, it can sometimes be better to simply not try.

It should be noted that for some (but not all) Unacceptable Targets, it's sometimes considered okay to use them as a vehicle for a joke, as long as the joke is not at their expense. Even so, a comedian will get attacked if the joke is perceived as too mean. (For example, a joke about how Warner Bros. mistreats Watchmen {below} is okay; a joke about the comic itself is not.) One should also consider that what would be an Unacceptable Target for one culture would be an Acceptable Target for another, not to mention those contrarian enough to make fun of something because it's an Unacceptable Target.

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Sacred Cow is a Sub-Trope to this. Contrast with Acceptable Targets. Compare with Even Evil Has Standards, Jesus Was Way Cool, 100% Adoration Rating, The Complainer Is Always Wrong, and Dude, Not Funny!. Some situations can result in heavy Unfortunate Implications, Double Standards, Positive Discrimination, and Values Dissonance in which The Rival or the counterpart of the Unacceptable Target can become Acceptable Targets.

Can sometimes be difficult to separate from Once Acceptable Targets in cases where the subjects in question were mocked at one time by one people in the dark annals of history. Perhaps a good rule of thumb to distinguish between the two is "Oh, you're mocking the Once Acceptable Target? How behind-the-times you are. I will laugh derisively at you." vs. "You're mocking the Unacceptable Target? You Monster!!!!"

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Examples:

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    People in general 

The deceased in general

See Also: Never Speak Ill of the Dead

It is typically not a good idea to rejoice at a person's death or make fun of a deceased person. This is more so if the person died tragically and/or recently. Even if they were formerly an Acceptable Target, it's best not to say "They deserved it!" or such. While there may be some exceptions, such as those who died via the death penalty, Suicide by Cop, by sheer stupidity (see the Darwin Awards, most of the victims on 1000 Ways to Die, etc.), other similar causes, and Adolf Hitler.

Live-Action TV

  • In the infamous "Eulogy Song" from The Chaser's War on Everything, Andrew is cut off by the rest of the team before he can start a verse about Belinda Emmett, an Australian actress who died of breast cancer and had never done anything to warrant anger or ire.
    • The show survived even after the hosts infamously infiltrated an APEC conference. It did not survive the backlash of mocking the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Music

  • Conservative Folk album The Goldwaters Sing Folk Songs to Bug the Liberals was originally writen to mock John F. Kennedy's presidency. Once he lost his life at the hands of an anonymous assassin, any references to Kennedy were removed from the final album.

Professional Wrestling

  • Owen Hart and Eddie Guerrero are both beloved by WWE fans; if anything relating to them is brought up, the fans will cheer. Even more so with Owen, as WWE exploited Eddie in the months after his death but Owen was left alone for the most part.

Religion

Web Original

Video Games

  • In NetHack, Izchak, the keeper of the lighting shop in Minetown, is never killed, even by the most hardcore mass-genocidal players. He's named after a member of the dev team who died of cancer, and killing him is considered to be very bad form.

Survivors of a tragedy

See Also: Shell-Shocked Veteran

While they didn't exactly die, the above also applies to survivors of a horrific tragedy, perhaps even more so as they're alive to at least do something about the mockery. Considering that they saw many die firsthand (including perhaps their friends and family), they won't take it lightly to say the least.

Web Original

  • While Ghost from True Capitalist Radio has disrespected or made fun of almost everything else listed on this page, he does not take kindly to his listener base making fun of the most recent tragedies around the world. He's even less happy about them poking fun of war veterans, especially when it comes to the Vietnam War and his own experiences there.
    • He makes exceptions to this from time to time. For example, he was very critical towards the United States sending aid to Haiti during the January 2010 Haitian earthquake and Puerto Rico during the 2017 Hurricane Maria, believing that people in both polities weren't suffering at all and in Puerto Rico's case going as far as to claim that this was all part of a secret plot for a communist takeover in the island.

People who have gone into space

Space travel is dangerous, and the requirements to make a career out of going up into space are astronomical. You must be in peak physical condition, possess high intellect, undergo months of specialized training, and the potential for disasters during any launch, mission, etc. can strike in the blink of an eye. The sacrifices throughout the years of astronauts regardless of their nationality are nothing to take lightly. Much like the aforementioned case with the shell-shocked seniors, modern astronauts are around to provide a counterpoint to the mockery, and in some cases will not deal with it for very long.

Tabletop Games

  • In Mage: The Ascension, the Void Engineers, the astronauts, and astronomers of the enemy Technocracy faction, are shown as the least evil and most heroic part of the Technocracy. Source material describes failures faced by real-world space programs as attempts by the rest of the Technocracy to punish them for sharing rocket technology with mundanes.

Webcomics

  • Used in-universe in Dr. McNinja, with "Nasaghasts" that ruthlessly hunt down and destroy anyone who threatens or tries to harm an astronaut. Doesn't matter why you do it; if you do something mean to an astronaut, you're going down.

Web Original

  • The Onion's "Congress Forgets How to Pass a Law" video combines this with the above: the one law that even an infamously-divided modern Congress can agree to pass is one authorizing the creation of a memorial statue to the Challenger astronauts. Unfortunately, the title scenario arises...

Military Servicemen and Servicewomen

Watch what you say about the military, especially around loved ones of soldiers and Marines who've died while serving. This is also a specific version of the deceased in general and survivors of a tragedy, considering that it is very likely that they will see people die first hand, not to mention they may even get severely injured or even lose their lives serving. Note that this one is Newer Than They Think: as recently as the Vietnam War it was considered acceptable in some anti-war circles to heap abuse on returning veterans.

Film - Live-Action

  • Played with in Sonic the Hedgehog (2020). In his Establishing Character Moment, Dr. Robotnik mocks and berates a soldier, Major Bennington. He calls Bennington dumb in various ways, such as suggesting that he reads at a third grade level. While Robotnik has many funny lines, he's still the movie's villain, and a despicable Insufferable Genius to boot. Despite Robotnik's funny lines, this scene is still clearly meant to be a Kick the Dog moment that makes Robotnik look like a jerk for disrespecting a soldier.

Live-Action TV

  • Played with in one episode of Mr. Bean. Mr. Bean sees a Queen's Guardsman standing at attention and decides to troll him by putting random things on him (including flowers on his headdress, and Teddy on his bayonet) and then take a photo with him. While Bean's antics are funny, he's also meant to be an immature jerk. The guardsman's uncomfortable reactions make it clear that what Bean is doing is wrong. Bean gets some comeuppance at the end of the skit when the guard gets the signal to move to his next post, allowing him to march away before Bean can get the photo.

Western Animation

  • Addressed and ultimately deconstructed in BoJack Horseman, where a soldier essentially throws an extremely petty hissy fit at BoJack (who admittedly escalated the situation) and society sides with him and acts outraged on his behalf. It's shown that being part of the military most definitely does not make one above morally untouchable.

Humanitarian activists, professions and/or anyone who puts their life in jeopardy to help others

Keep in mind, it takes guts for someone to put themselves at risk, and even a foolish one deserves some respect if the goal is to protect someone else. The same goes for humanitarian organizations like the Red Cross, UNICEF, etc., as well as internationally respected humanitarian activists like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez, Oskar Schindler, Bob Geldof, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer, Desmond Tutu, Mikhail Gorbachev, the 14th Dalai Lama, etc. Cynical people tend to dismiss their actions as 'square' or 'only doing it to get attention', but at least they try to do something right, spend a lot of time and energy doing so, and lead far more admirable lives than most of us.

Administrators and Moderators of a Community

On many websites and message boards, the admins, moderators, and any of their friends are very Unacceptable Targets. For reasons that should be obvious. This really depends on the admins or mods in question but should be assumed true until shown otherwise.

Other

  • StarDestroyer.net makes a specific distinction in the rules between insulting a moderator in a debate (acceptable, the debates are vicious) and insulting a moderator in his official capacity as moderator (unacceptable).
  • On the Nuzlocke Comics Forum, so long as you don't openly attack the mods, you can passive-aggressively disagree with them as much as you like (in fact, mods trying to fight back against such actions will find themselves being smacked down by other mods). Saying something bad about Nuzlocke however is heresy, and even the people that normally butt heads with the mods will chase you out with torches and pitchforks.
  • Played with on Spacebattles. As the Staff are also posters there's two sets rules to them. If they're engaging in a thread as a regular user, you can treat them like any other user, including making fun of them within the rules. If they're making official staff actions, there word is sacrosanct and mouthing back is an infraction.
  • Similarly, on the BattleTech forums, the mods are just as much fans as anyone else, and debating or bantering with them is not only allowed, it's encouraged. But the moment a mod steps in to say an activity will stop note , such as thread derailments or overheated discussions, they have all the authority of their position to lock threads, or sanction users, even other mods.

Lèse majesté

In many countries that have royalty, insulting the king, queen, or their family is forbidden by law. In some of these, most people won't actually care much, and you'll get you a fine at most if the authorities notice — but in other countries, such as Morocco and Thailand, doing so will also get the population upset with you, and can end you up in prison for several years. Rarely seen in English-language media because in the UK lèse majesté rivals Footy and Cricket as the national sport. And of course, insulting another nation's royalty is usually fair game (at least when you're not in front of their subjects).

Film

  • In An American Werewolf in London, when David realizes that he'd transformed and killed six people the night before, he tries to get himself arrested so he won't be able to rampage when the full moon rises again. His attempt consists of insults shouted in a public square:
    "Queen Elizabeth is a man! Prince Charles is a faggot! Winston Churchill was bullshit!"

Web Original

  • Invoked on a live episode of What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?. When Nash discovered that it was illegal to insult the king of Thailand, he proceeded to say "Fuck the king of Thailand!" multiple times. This led to Tara jokingly denying being associated with him in the video, due to not wanting to be arrested by the king of Thailand (despite living in New York).

Dictators

Like the above, in many countries and empires that are ruled by a dictator or emperor, saying anything bad about the leader or their family is a huge crime and doing so will definitely lead to very serious repercussions. In Imperial China for instance, even saying the Emperor's real name was a capital crime. Then again, if you're not actually in a dictatorship you're probably safe badmouthing it.

Children in General

When it comes to age groups, even if the adultism is present, attacks on children are often frowned upon since the capability of defending upset children (or the children defending themselves) is very limited, although it’s a mixed bag when it comes to teenagers.

TV and Film

Web Original

The orphans

Poor orphans has been lost their parents or lived on the streets for various reasons, and some of them need hugs or to be adopted by you, or they have starved to death. Please don't insult (or mocking) them, and give them love. Please keep that in mind.

Asian Animation

  • Upin & Ipin: Zig-zagged. Thanks to his insensitive remark that there are no paradise for motherless orphans which ended up dousing the situation for both of the twins and their elder sister Kak Ros in Eid Fitr Special in 2020, Fizi receives a lots of flak for his actions (especially after some of his more insensitive remarks from past episodes come to light), even still to this day to the point that he issued an apology to the twin that framed like he's apologizing to the entire viewerbase. Never mock the orphans. Ever. Please also keep that in mind.

Religion

  • According to Islam, the eighth among the Greater Sins is to usurp the property of an orphan who has not attained maturity. And being that means, you CAN'T trying to steal something from an orphan in the streets.

The Elderly

They've lived a long life and likely had moments where it matters the most. They might have been in the military, so the elderly must be treated with care. Sadly, like child abuse, the abuse of the elderly also exists and someone who knows the elderly will usually take action.

Of course, targeting the elderly could backfire on you — just remember that if you abuse an old man and he does a number on your ass, or abuse an old lady and she does the same.

Comic Books

  • In chapter 6 ("The Superstar Falls") of the volume 15 ("Dream High - Artiste") of the Malaysian comic book series Profession (Chinese: 职业人气王 Zhíyè rénqì wáng), the character Jacob has a hatred of elderly peoples. When his car almost runs across an old beggar on an bridge, he "snubs" ("insults" or "is disrespectful to") him by telling him to "stop faking his injuries" and gives him money, telling him to leave. However, reporters take a photo of this and it becomes the headline of a newspaper the next day, which results in his downfall. Take a look of this single page if you're interested.

Persons with Disabilities

It's generally not a good idea to make fun of any sort of disability. If you do, expect anything from Dude, Not Funny! to people wanting to chew you out/kick your butt. Note, however, that persons with disabilities can and do poke fun at themselves (Josh Blue, for instance, has cerebral palsy and gets good laughs at its expense). It's also okay to satirize negative portrayals of disability to show that the people who made the original piece are bigots. For example, an Autism Speaks infomercial has gotten this in spades.

Comic Books

  • In chapter 3 ("An Unexpected Shock") of the volume 8 ("Sound of Music - Musician") of Malaysian comic book series Profession (Chinese: 职业人气王 Zhíyè rénqì wáng), when the main character named Edward (also an famous musician) comes across a homeless person with disabilities who plays music in the streets, he criticizes him and his music skills, saying that his playing sounds horrible. This has caused people to recognize Edward as a blind, arrogant musical prodigy and despise him, saying that he doesn't have the right to judge others, while someone else said that God has taken away his gift as a result of him being so arrogant (when, actually, he was made blind, but not by God, but rather by a person who pushed him to hit a table in an restaurant during a fight) Take a look of both pages if you're interested.

Western Animation

  • Despite the fact that South Park makes jokes at characters in the series who have disabilities, it's generally better received because (1) The jokes generally have nothing to do with their disabilities (though it may appear that way when they are first introduced as a grotesque figure with a silly voice), and (2) The only time someone makes fun of a character's disability, they're usually shown to be a Jerkass, with Cartman usually making such jokes. A popular reference is the Tourette's syndrome episode, which shows the disability in its form beyond Hollywood Tourette's, with the only exception being Eric Cartman, which is justified since he's faking it. Another example is Jimmy and Timmy who have become part of the regular cast and weren't treated as gimmicky one-shot joke characters.
  • The root cause of "Derpygate" within the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic community was due to this. Originally an in-joke by the fandom, the pony originally known as "Derpy" was often portrayed by many bronies as a Cute Clumsy Girl and a good mother to her foal, Dinky, that tries her best despite her vision problems and clumsiness. In Season 2, she made an extended appearance in an episode that ended up being pretty close to that portrayal, with a boyish voice, due to the VA thinking Derpy was male. Viewers considering this offensive to the mentally disabled demanded the character be either UnPersoned or edited to be less ableist. She ended up not making any appearances until Season 4 and was silent and nameless until Season 5 where she was recast and renamed "Muffins".

People who excel at school subjects

Many regions love mocking them to death for being out of touch with society and for having no social life at all, but in other regions insulting them for those reasons is going to get you labeled as someone who is jealous at best and anti-social at worst. This is because in those regions, high grades are seen as an important value and a guarantee of later success at life.

Organ and tissue donors

These people have literally given up a piece of themselves so that someone else can stay alive, often someone they don’t even know. Someone like that deserves to be treated with respect and admiration. Especially when you consider that donation is not entirely risk-free and can be a long and painful process for the donor. Even with non-living donors, it's just another reason to Never Speak Ill of the Dead. Special mention goes to regular blood donors, who might save hundreds or even thousands of people in their lifetimes.

Arahani and nuns

In Buddhism, arahani and nuns were a part of the religion for many decades. But according to the Buddhism, you can't think of disrespect and insult them or for worse, raping them, or this will not gonna end well for all the enterity. Ever. Please kept that in mind.

    Specific people 

Fred Rogers

Perhaps because of his inspiration to many people across the internet when they were kids, Fred Rogers and his show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood are given this treatment across the internet. Try to make fun of this man and the hive mind will eat you alive. While some people seem to have drunk Fox's Kool-Aid and have taken to bashing him after seeing the "report" mentioned below, these people are usually ignored, or receive a swift ban if a moderator happens to be present.

Advertising

  • In the late 1980s when Burger King made an ad with a fake Rogers explaining why BK burgers were better than McDonald's burgers, the real Rogers said: "You will stop that immediately!"...and they did. This was mainly because the fake Rogers looked too much like the real him, and he did not want kids to get confused. By comparison, obviously no kid is going to confuse Eddie Murphy (see below) for Rogers, and Murphy's sketch was broadcast safely out of the way of any typical child's viewing time. The fact that Mr. Rogers was a vegan was also probably another factor, as Mr. Rogers probably flinched at the idea that his likeness was being used to market food containing meat.

Newspaper Comics

Live-Action TV

  • A rare aversion: Rogers liked Eddie Murphy's parody on Saturday Night Live of his own show ("Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood") since it was an Affectionate Parody, not deliberate and malicious mockery. Apparently, Murphy caught up with Rogers and told him "You understand, we only do it because we love you."

Music

Web Comics

Web Original

  • His Epic Rap Battle with Mr. T is another aversion, despite him swearing and threatening to kill Mr. T at the end. Nevertheless, it is one of the more restrained battles the show produced. The comments on the video pretty much unanimously declare him the winner.
  • Mr. Rogers is one of the very, very few unacceptable targets among Trolls on websites such as 4chan.

Western Animation

  • An infamous opening gag in Family Guy featured Stewie terrorizing the Town of Happy and trying to kill Rogers; even series creator Seth MacFarlane thought it wasn't funny. Even so, Stewie's rampage turns out to be a Dream Within a Dream, and it's Rogers who gets the last laugh in the end.
  • In Black Dynamite, Mr. Rogers is the main antagonist of the Mister Rogers' Revenge or Please Don't You Be His Neighbor episode. Although strangely enough, he's somewhat of a mixed bag. Because in the Black Dynamite universe, the rumors that he was a a soldier are indeed true. He was a medic instead of a sniper, and while does go on a psychotic killing spree, he's mostly portrayed as a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Whom has the children's innocence in mind even if he does some pretty violent things around them and tries to turn them into his private army to protect them.

TV Tropes Wiki

  • In fact, one of the working titles for this trope was "The Mr. Rogers".

Bob Ross

Similar to Mr. Rogers, speaking badly of painting show host Bob Ross is a serious no-no. Not only because he is known one of the nicest people to ever live, but also because of the ways he would reach out and include others in his show. There's also the genuine empathy he displayed while on his show (the famous episode where he painted a greyscale mountain landscape for a colorblind viewer being a prime example of this), and his way of speaking, which always did make people genuinely feel welcome for watching the show. And also like Rogers, make fun of him at your own risk.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

In Turkey, it is outright illegal to insult the name of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who is considered to be the greatest hero of the Turkish people. In other words, this trope is backed by law.

Newspaper Comics

  • If the above example with Mr. Rogers wasn't bad enough, Stephan Pastis also got in a lot of trouble with a Pearls Before Swine strip featuring a llama named "Ataturk" who solved disputes by spitting on people. He then said that he chose the name simply because he liked the sound of it, not knowing its significance. You can see those strips with the llama here, and here.

Hồ Chí Minh

Hồ Chí Minh was a Vietnamese revolutionary and politician, and he was a key figure in defeating the French Union in 1954, and the People's Army of Vietnam and the Việt Cộng during The Vietnam War. The city of Saigon was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City (thành phố Hồ Chí Minh) in his honor after North Vietnam won the war in 1975 and the reunification of Vietnam in 1976 followed. If you live in Vietnam, and if you're trying to insult the Vietnamese government and Hồ Chí Minh, you'll earn the tag of Phản Động (Reactionary) for this, and this might not end well. Ever.

That said, it's sometimes inverted outside of Vietnam. In Vietnamese diaspora communities (especially those in the United States) where the majority of Vietnamese are either refugees from the collapse of South Vietnam or of Communist political repression since that time, Hồ is seen as a destructive figure for the Vietnamese nation, and anything seen as praise of Vietnam's Communist system is liable to be held against you. This even extends to the flag used to represent the community; anti-communist diaspora Vietnamese will use the former flag of South Vietnamnote  to represent their country.

Mahatma Gandhi

Since Gandhi laid the foundations for modern India and ended British rule, he is extremely revered over there, and any mocking of him will get you skinned alive.

Video Games

  • Averted with the Civilization series, which has took the "Nuclear Gandhi" meme and ran with it.

Western Animation

  • The reason for the early cancellation of Clone High was because Indians were furious over its depiction of Gandhi as a womanising party freak, to the point some even staged a hunger strike and threatened to revoke MTV's broadcasting license if they didn't pull it off the air. However, if the show hadn't been cancelled, Gandhi would have been revealed as being the clone of Gary Coleman instead of the actual Mahatma Gandhi due to a DNA mixup.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Since Martin Luther King Jr was a major civil rights activist who fought for and convinced America to legally end segregation, he is extremely revered, especially by the African American community, so any mocking of him will might as well as make you a dead man. It also does not help that he was tragically assassinated.

Sukarno

Sukarno was a prominent leader of Indonesia's nationalist movement during the Dutch colonial period and Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation before he was replaced by one of his generals, Suharto, but before his eventual death on 1970. Indonesians see him as a national hero and a "founding father", so you just don't insult him in front of Indonesian peoples.

Web Original

  • The controversial Indonesian national anthem parody song video on YouTube made by a Malaysian YouTuber MY Asean, insults Sukarno. It became controversial among Indonesians. (See the Nation Anthems section on the Works folder for more information in question.)

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

Culturally, attacking Muhammad is one of the big no-nos in Islam, as with Ataturk in Turkey. Even displaying an image of him is pretty taboo,note  since it also runs into the general creed on not depicting people or even animals in some parts of Muslim faith. Notably, however, this doesn't extend to most of the Western world, which has precipitated a load of conflicts recently and usually ends up with the artist in question being threatened with a fatwa proclaiming their death (or actual arson).

Caricatures

  • The infamous Danish Caricature controversy of 2005, which ended with several Danish embassies burning down and dozens of people dead.
  • In late 2020, another death happened after a teacher in France showed his students caricatures of Muhammad in a class on free speech. He ended up being decapitated outside the school he worked at.note 

Film

  • The irredeemable-even-without-the-offensive-aspects film Innocence of Muslims is basically one long attack on the entire religion of Islam with every last one of the Unfortunate Implications that would imply. One scene in particular, however, gained some Internet notoriety for depicting an unflattering caricature of Muhammad -not only was it responsible for a long string of protests throughout the Middle East (and parts of Southeast Asia such of Indonesia and Malaysia, which is also an Islamic country), it was also initially blamed for the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi (although later revelations showed this to be untrue).

Web Original

  • On a list in which people could vote for the greatest people of all time Prophet Muhammad ended up taking the #1 spot. By comparison, Jesus Christ is on the #5 spot and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is only on #20.
    • Not currently though, Jesus is #1 and Muhammad is #4 as of this writing.

Western Animation

  • South Park has lampooned pretty much everyone and everything on the planet, at one point or another, including the show and the creators themselves. However, they ran into issues when it came to lampooning Muhammad. Parker and Stone went for lampooning the fact that he's not an acceptable target, instead (particularly because five years before the Muhammad taboo was back in the limelight, he had been depicted with no repercussion!). Of course, the second half of their 200th episode two-parter had all mention of Muhammad's name censored by the network, along with the speeches at the end (which didn't even mention Muhammad). Comedy Central went so far as pulling it from ever airing again — they won't even let it be streamed on the show's official website. You can find it here, but its being a TV rip means the bleeps are still in place. The uncensored audio leaked onto the Internet in 2014.
    • In-universe only: in two-parter episode arc Cartoon Wars, the terrorists threatened FOX not to show Muhammad on Family Guy, and at the end, they still shows it, but in real-life, Comedy Central doesn't want to show the image of Muhammad, and Parker and Stone instead puts a black background explaining this. Despite that, the terrorists are still not happy about it and "retaliated" with a cartoon about Americans (even Jesus) crapping, in which he proves that's funnier than Family Guy. note 

Jesus

Directly attacking or insulting Jesus Christ is considered one of the big no-nos of Christianity. That doesn't mean people refrain from doing it, and it doesn't mean there isn't an entire religion that inverts Christianity out there (there is), but it does mean that doing so is something that will also precipitate a load of conflicts in any society with a large Christian (or Muslim; Islam might not believe Jesus is God but it teaches he is a prophet to be respected) population, especially if said Christians are of The Fundamentalist persuasion or are or are influenced by Moral Guardians.

This is a large reason why Crystal Dragon Jesus and especially Jesus Was Way Cool exist: the former sidesteps (sometimes quite well, other times so sloppily as to create Unfortunate Implications) the idea of a direct attack on Jesus by creating a Jesus expy to be attacked. The latter exists as an attempt to separate Jesus from either the perceived view of Christianity and/or from religion itself.

Buddha

The trifecta of holy figure no-nos, while badmouthing Buddha will at most get you dirty looks from Buddhist practitioners, some countries do not allow for one to mess around with their deities. If you insult Buddha or Buddhism (or Taoism), whether openly or not, doing so will get you tortured in Hell after death. Please keep that in mind before you die. This is what got the game Fight of Gods banned in Thailand, shortly after Malaysia banned it for the appearance of both Jesus and Buddha (and the fact that people were calling the developers to add Muhammad to the game).

Video Games

  • As mentioned above, one of the reasons Taiwanese fighter game Fight of Gods got banned in Malaysia and Thailand (and shortly later, Singapore and Indonesia) was because it featured Buddha as a fighter, which the head of the Malaysian Buddhist and Hindu Associations saw as an insult as Buddha is supposed to be a passive deity. Likewise, the king of Thailand himself decreed the ban for the same reason. Singapore and Indonesia later follow suit, largely due to harboring sizable Buddhist and Christian population in the two nations and in Indonesia's case, out of fear of racial unrest that may result. Strangely, however, the game remains unbanned in India.

Western Animation

  • In the controversial South Park episode "201", the scene where Buddha is depicted snorting cocaine alongside Jesus looking at pornography, showing the double standards of which religious figures are and aren't okay to mock, ironically got the episode and the entire series banned in Sri Lanka.

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Like Mister Rogers, he has inspired many to love science and critical thinking. Go on, try to call him a fraud for debunking conspiracy theories on YouTube. However, his immunity eroded to some people when his latest show, Bill Nye Saves the World, hit Netflix, which caused numerous groups to denounce him for his scientific claims (with varying levels of scientific basis for their own). Nowadays, it's not uncommon to see huge battles on his Facebook pages between his fans and these groups.

Western Animation

  • The Brickleberry episode, "Global Warning" depicted Bill Nye in a surprisingly flattering manner, where he was an only sane man explaining the legitimacy and threat of global warming, while the climate change-denying Woody Johnson crudely insulted him and attacked him with childish, profane ad hominem remarks. Clearly, even the writers of Brickleberry were above mocking Bill Nye and the true butt of this joke was Woody for being such a close-minded asshole.

The Emperor and the Imperial Family of Japan

See Also: He Who Must Not Be Seen

The Japanese Imperial Family deserves a special mention here, compared with the Lèse majesté crimes mentioned above. Japanese media (and the Japanese themselves) don't have any qualms about making fun or name-dropping any historical figure, including Prime Ministers, for the sake of it. On the other hand, the Emperor and his family (and even fictional versions of him and his position) are off-limits in any way. Mentioning him in non-historical, non-educative and non-informative backgrounds is considered one of the biggest taboos in Japan, not to mention even making fun of him.

This is the reason why in many historical Japanese media he's excluded from being mentioned, even when he should be historically relevant for the plot. Normally he's replaced by another authority figure instead, like a Prime Minister or, when dealing with the Sengoku Era, with any daimyo or shogun.

Anime & Manga

  • This is pretty egregious in Rurouni Kenshin, since, despite the whole setting of the story is due thanks to an Emperor (the Meiji one, especially) and Kenshin was fighting (technically) for his sake, he's never mentioned anywhere, while the Tokugawas, the ones whose Kenshin was fighting against them when he was the Battousai, are mentioned instead.

Video Games

  • Oddly averted in AkaSeka where one of the love interest options is Sada'akira. His historical counterpart is also known as Emperor Yōzei.

Western Animation

  • This is the reason why the episode "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" from The Simpsons was banned in Japan, as the Emperor not only appears in the episode but is mocked, specifically when Homer throws him into a pile of soiled sumo thongs.
  • The South Park episode "Chinpokomon" was banned in Japan for similar reasons, heavily referencing the bombing of Pearl Harbor (which Japan prefers to forget) and portraying the late Emperor Hirohito as an antagonist and warmonger who is hell-bent on revenge against the United States for defeating them in World War II.

Real Life

  • The British representative who attended the funeral of Emperor Hirohito was Prince Philip, consort of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen herself - also a member of the WW2 generation - officially pleaded prior engagement. Unofficially, it is believed she had no intention whatsoever of honouring a man still viewed as a war criminal, and suggested her husband attend on her behalf. Philip, a man who has made many racially disparaging comments about Far Eastern peoples, who served most of his war in the Far East and who saw at first hand what Japanese captivity had done to British and Commonwealth PoWs was seen, as the cortege passed, to make the lowest possible bow consistent with any sort of respect at all. His Japanese hosts were outraged. British veterans of the Japanese war, who realised this was meant as a sophisticated and calculated insult, cheered him.

Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong was a great Communist leader who helped contribute in the Chinese War and helped united China (except Taiwan Island, for some reasons) under communism, and defeated Republic of China and have them retreated into Taiwan Islands. After his death, he's still remembered as an nationalism hero by many Chinese peoples. It is a bad idea to insult him nor badmouthing him in any ways.

Anime and Manga

  • Somehow averted. In the OVA of The Legend of Koizumi, Koizumi's aura is so powerful, it actually causes Mao to rise from the grave so he and Koizumi can engage in a Mahjong battle with one of the infamous dictator that's not given the protection after death: Pol Pot. Mao loses the match, but earns Koizumi's respect as a Worthy Opponent.

Film

Video Games

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons episode "Goo Goo Gai Pan" had the Simpson family go to China, and on the way they visit Mao's mausoleum. When Homer came up to Mao's body, he said to it quietly: "Aww, look at him. He's like a little angel that killed 50 million people. Yes you are! Yes you are!" Because of this unfavorable reference to Mao, and other reasons (which is seem as a taboo in China, you know), this episode was banned in China.

The Kim Dynasty

Dare to mess with the Kim Dynasty, the generations of rulers of North Korea, and also mess with Kim Jong-un himself, and you might be sent to North Korean prison camps for that. This mostly applies outside of North Korea due to the country's notoriously strict and dictatorship-level laws set by them.

Films

  • The Interview, of course, can be easily short to said that the movie was an anti-North Korean movie, and even the actual Kim Jong-un refer the film as de facto "declaration of war." This has caused allegedly angry North Korean hackers to cyber-attack the website of the film's distributor, Sony Pictures.
    • It even to the point that other countries outside of United States (including Russia) refused to release the film on the theaters, but other distributions (such of Netflix) can might be possible. However, mainland China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Russia, on the other hand, banned any distribution of the film in their country.note 

Xi Jinping

If you live in China, don't mock or insult this great Chinese president or else you might be in big trouble. It also applies to those who dislike China and even Xi Jinping. Also, if you live outside of China (except Hong Kong and Taiwan probablynote ), don't discuss China's forbidden topics on the internet or compare Xi Jinping to Winnie-the-Pooh himself. Also, you also don't ask for his daughter Xi Mingze.

However, non-Chinese people who ignore this status and make fun of him can be banned from entering China, where making fun of him will upset the more nationalist Chinese population and incur serious penalties (from imprisonment to torture). Even we at TV Tropes have forbidden topics on China; just don't go there. Just don't.

Films

  • Christopher Robin was denied an official release in China due to falling outside of the quota on foreign films. Many have speculated that the ban is partially due to Chinese censorship of Winnie-the-Pooh and comparisons of Pooh with president Xi.

Live-Action TV

  • An especially extreme case, as an critical segment of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver about Xi Jinping, especially his legendary hatred of his supposed resemblance to Winnie-the-Pooh, pissed him off so much that John Oliver's show was banned in China and was scrubbed from the Chinese internet. And even HBO was included on the Chinese banlist. note  Only for a time.

Music

Video Games

  • Winnie-the-Pooh's Chinese name "小熊维尼" were banned in video games such of World of Warcraft, Player Unknowns Battlegrounds, Arena of Valor and Overwatch, and can result in instaban if typed on chat. However, as a side effect of this, some players using this advantage to troll peoples by forcing them to type the Pooh Bear word just for fun and troll purpose only, without knowing that the autoban was enforced by "law". For example 
  • Sadly, a placeholder image comparing Chinese president Xi to Winnie-the-Pooh (in text) resulted in the Taiwanese indie horror game Devotion losing its publishing license in China, and it was quickly pulled from Steam after it was review-bombed by more nationalistic Chinese gamers in early 2019, despite the image later being patched out. note  A few months later, Red Candle posted an official apology on their social media which said that Devotion wouldn't be re-released on Steam "in the near future", until 2021 when they finally cut out the middle man and launched their own storefront to sell the game on, but the game's re-release from Red Candle Games's own storefront is completely region-locked from China as a result of the placeholder image controversy. And if a Chinese user tries to play the game, it will only prompt a Chinese warning message that the game is prohibited by law. The placeholder image also contains the Chinese words "呢嘛叭唭" which is smiliar to Hokkien "你嘛八七" (Nǐ ma bāqī), (translated in Chinese as "你妈白癡") which means, "your mother is an idiot", as an Chinese insult. Taken together, it should be "Xi Jinping Winnie-the-Pooh your mother is an idiot", or "Xi-the-Pooh your mother is an idiot".

Web Original

  • YouTubers such as The Mechanic Shark Channel and Twatical had no problem making fun of China and President Xi, and thought the "enforced" lifetime ban from China was worth it. TMSC had the Pooh Bear appear in place of President Xi in instances on his videos that make fun of China, (and even made Pooh Bear a "Big Bad" who says "Ching chang chong") while Twatical, on the other hand, made President Xi a Memetic Badass that claims he will make people somehow disappear.
    Xi Jinping starts to say,
    You don't happen to have any, honey, do you?

Western Animation

  • An University of Minnesota student has get into trouble for tweeting images of Lawrence Limburger, the Big Bad of the cartoon Biker Mice from Mars, who supposedly bears a resemblance to the president Xi.
  • Believe it or not, yes. Online references to Winnie-the-Pooh are often blocked because of a running joke about how President Xi Jinping resembles Pooh since 2013. However, it doesn't stop some people living outside of Chinese countries mocking the president Xi, including Indian people, and Thai people (in a Thailand vs. Chinese internet war in 2020, also known as Thai-Chinese Meme War, in where the Chinese refer to Thailand as "poor", and the Thai refer to China as "pooh".), so it's subverted, though not always.
    • In early 2021, Myanmar protestors began boycotting Chinese products and wearing Pooh Bear mask as an insult to Xi after they disappointed that they found out that China has voiced open support for the Myanmar military government.
    • Despite this, Pinky and the Brain were able to avert this somehow despite the episode "The Megalomaniacal Adventures of Brainie the Poo" is the parody of Winnie-the-Pooh.
  • Zig-zagged, or subverted? To the shock of exactly nobody, Xi Jinping is not only appeared on South Park episode "Band in China" but is also mocked, that it'll taking jabs at Winnie-the-Pooh ban,note  and this caused the series were also scrubbed from the Chinese internet. Trey Parker and Matt Stone later made an mock apology that they mockingly convinces that Xi doesn't looks just like Winnie-the-Pooh at all. note  After that, they continued making fun of China, including an Take That! to the Chinese government on the 300th episode, and for another one by having Randy dancing on the porch while wearing a mask of president Xi's real face in the season 23's Halloween Special episode, including the brief reappearance of Winnie-the-Pooh in that episode.
    • Before that, president Xi appeared in two earlier episodes, but he was shown falling in love with an Korean women in one of the episodes has caused without almost any issues or controversy. But after "Band in China" episodenote  aired, Chinese censors were finally actually take measures on the show, but it was also continued to be mocked by Trey and Matt for the ban.
    • And then, Zedd was banned in China after liking the mock apology tweet made by Trey and Matt. He admitted this in this tweet.
      • However, someone in Twitter joked that they'll banned from China because they liked Zedd's tweet about him being banned from China. It is unknown if the Chinese banhammer actually happened.

Barron Trump

Although his father is always fair game, as are his three oldest siblings (while Melania and Tiffany fall somewhere in the middle), it's considered extremely off-color to make fun of Barron Trump. Even comedians and TV shows that mock the entire Trump family, notably leave Barron out of it for a number of reasons. For starters, even people who hate Trump agree that Barron is somewhat of a "token good teammate and White Sheep" in the Trump family, as he's a child so unlike the rest of his family, he can't be held accountable for any stupid political or business-related decisions made by his family. And of course, as mentioned above in "People in General", making fun of kids is seen as a very cheap shot anyway.

LeVar Burton

Like Mister Rogers and Bill Nye above, it is considered to be extremely bad taste to mock LeVar Burton. He is widely regarded as the figurehead of literacy in the United States, inspiring a love of reading and science through Reading Rainbow. This is especially true after PBS completely cut funding for the program back in 2009. What of WNED, That TV station that took him to court so they could take the Reading Rainbow brand back and succeeded, claiming that LeVar had mistakenly thought that he had bought the rights to the series? Many of his fans speculate that station will be producing a flop and LeVar will not be affected that badly. As of March 2018, LeVar's project just had to undergo a minor rebrand. WNED’s supposed "retool" is on the other hand stuck in Development Hell.

Keanu Reeves

A Once Acceptable Target mocked for questionable acting ability and his career going on a rut, has become this ever since his Career Resurrection in John Wick. Keanu's an accomplished long-time actor, has had its share of life hardships, and is a certified Nice Guy, as shown in his performance in E3 2019, thus now making fun of him is seen as being in incredibly bad taste. That being said, his fandom, especially those on Reddit are not immune from criticism by any stretch of the word, and their tendency to fawn over Reeves’ every move has spawned the ‘Reddit Moment’ meme based around documenting their rabid behaviour, as well as other general Redditor strangeness.

Stefán Karl Stefánsson

Stefan Karl, the talented and charismatic actor who played Robbie Rotten from the show LazyTown, became an unacceptable target after he was diagnosed with cancer back in October 2016, and even more so after his death in August 2018 from it, to the point where you are seen as a Complete Monster if you mock his death or disrespect it, or at least get a massive Dude, Not Funny! reaction from the people around you. Making fun or hating on the many songs he has sung in LazyTown, especially "We Are Number One", is also going to get you quite a bit of backlash. Even if they may not be relevant memes as they once were.

Steve Irwin

On 22 February, 2019, Google celebrated Steve Irwin's posthumous 57th birthday with a Google Doodle. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a mockery-target of many, responded with a tweet, condemning Irwin for using animals for "abusive entertainment", such as "harassing a ray, dangling his baby while feeding a crocodile, and wrestling wild animals who were minding their own business", and Google for promoting his message. The response was not in PETA's favour.

He's generally held in the same high regard as Mister Rogers and Bob Ross, with some depicting the three as a Power Trio of wholesomeness and kindness for the messages they send. For those interested 

Western Animation

  • The My Gym Partner's a Monkey episode, "Amazon Kevin" featured a Steve Irwin stand-in named Amazon Kevin, who was universally despised by all of the animals of CDMS for, as Lupe put it, "smacking [their] kind around for generations." The episode had the animals all attack him and even included a scene where Jake threatened to kill him with an ax. Amazon Kevin admitted to Adam that he was actually a cowardly fraud and all of his fights with animals were staged, adding insult to injury. The episode ended with him getting creamed in a wrestling match against a herd of hippos. At first, there was no trouble with this episode airing but following Steve Irwin's death in the real world, this episode was immediately banned in Australia for good and disliked by a lot of people.

John "Totalbiscuit" Bain

On April-May of 2018, after John Bain's passing from his cancer, a BioWare employee called David Crooks somewhat gleefully mocked Bain's death. This no doubt causes a very bad press against BioWare and by extension, EA, and the two were quick to condemn and disown Crooks.

Etika

Already a beloved YouTuber, on June 25, 2019, Etika was found dead as confirmed by the NYPD. Prior to this, Etika was very depressed and suicidal. Some have posted various clown memes that had offended many of his supporters. And following his passing, those same people who made clown memes or just mocked Etika's passing were torched hard.

Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate is arguably the most well-known victim of the Manson Family's killing spree, and her unnatural death at a young age while she was eight and a half months pregnant, in addition to her having been a genuinely talented actress and her films gaining popularity after her death, makes her and the circumstances behind her death this. Notably, the most memorable scene of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was when her murderers ended up getting brutally murdered themselves, while in that film's Alternate History, she continues to live on.

Ahmed Best

Jar Jar Binks is one of the most hated characters in modern fiction, and his actor, Ahmed Best, received some hate from fans of The Phantom Menace after the movie came out. After Best revealed that he actually received so much hate that he seriously considered taking his own life, especially since this was around the same time that Jake Lloyd and Kelly Marie Tran came out with their own experiences on the topic, Best quickly became untouchable by the same fandom that once ridiculed him.

Alex Trebek

The long-time host of Jeopardy!. Similar to the aforementioned Ahmed Best, Trebek used to be a popular target to mock and parody, but after his diagnosis with stage IV pancreatic cancer in 2019 (and a huge outpouring of support and media coverage) he is now pretty much untouchable, outside of Will Ferrell's impression of Trebek on SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy sketches, which Trebek loved. For instance, one "Scenes From a Hat" skit on Whose Line Is It Anyway? had Greg Proops mocking Trebek during the scene "People you wish would just shut up". While Proops got a round of applause at the time, many YouTube comments point out how retroactively tasteless the joke is now. Needless to say, after his death in 2020, he was heavily mourned.

Emily Bett Rickards

Make no mistake, Felicity Smoak is far and away the most hated character in the Arrowverse for many reasons, but her actress Emily Bett Rickards is firmly off limits. She is seen as an outright saint in real life - she has raised money for charitable causes dedicated to fing auto-immune diseases, sponsored a scholarship worth upwards of $250,000 out of her own pocket, is very nice and personable to her fans, and did "tons of research" when she discovered Felicity would become paralyzed. If anything, she is the most pitied out of everyone involved with the show since she's had to watch her character's reputation go down the drain through no fault of her own.

Julia Child

Along with such PBS personalities as Fred Rogers, Bill Nye, Bob Ross, and LeVar Burton, Julia Child and her cooking shows are loved all over the nation. If you value your life, family, and property, don't you dare diss her in front of a chef. If you do, it was nice knowing ya...

Stan Lee

Stan "The Man" Lee is the most iconic face of the comic book industry, having created some of the most iconic superheroes of all time. When he passed in 2018, not an ill word was spoken of him. Just try saying anything bad about him and see how quickly you get dogpiled. Not helping matters is the theory that his being wrongfully caught up in the #MeToo movement hastened his demise.

  • WatchMojo received immense backlash when they uploaded their "Top 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe Cameos" video mere hours after news broke of his death. The thumbnail of the video prominently featured Stan, leading many to accuse them of attempting to profit from his death.
  • Graphic India Pte. Ltd and POW! Entertainment receive heavy backlash for using the late Stan Lee's official Twitter account to promote an NFT of Chakra The Invincible.

Sushant Singh Rajput

Sushant Singh Rajput was a Bollywood actor who first came to prominence in the 2013 film Kai Po Che. Over the next seven years, he built up a passionate fanbase, but found it hard to get acting roles due to his lack of connections in the industry. This culminated in him taking his own life in June 2020. This led to a massive backlash against Bollywood and its nepotistic behavior. A year later, June 14th (his death day) was unofficially declared as "Anti-Nepotism Day". Even PewDiePie made a tribute video for him.

  • Alia Bhatt was a storied actress in her own right, but she became a specific target of backlash when she claimed to have no knowledge of Rajput in an interview with Karan Johar. Her dismissive attitude towards the actor led to her next film, Sadak 2 getting review bombed. The trailer became the second most disliked YouTube video, and the movie ended up with a 1.1 score on IMDb. Gunjan Saxena ended up suffering a similar fate, though it at least had good reviews.

Robert Pattinson

Twilight and Edward Cullen can be mocked to Kingdom Come, but Pattinson, who played Cullen in the series, is off limits. This is mostly because he dislikes the series and character as much as the detractors, and he has since taken up roles to dissociate himself from them. He proved that He Really Can Act in Good Time, The Lighthouse, and Tenet. When he was announced to portray Batman in the 2022 film, there was practically no backlash, as he had won over majority of his detractors by then.

Takashi Yanase

While the Anpanman series has become a Japanese pop culture icon and beloved by different generations in Japan (especially from adults). Takashi Yanase (creator of the Anpanman franchise) is highly respected in Japan, due to his children's books (such as Chirin no Suzu and Yasashii Lion) not shying away on touching darker and somberer subject matter compared to his other lighthearted works (such as Chiisana Jumbo and Bara no Hana to Joe) which made him stand out from other author and illustrators (such as Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle). After his passing in 2014, Kōchi Prefecture opened an official museum called "Kami City Takashi Yanase Memorial Hall & Anpanman Museum" which is entirely dedicated to him and his works. As a result, it's not a great idea to mock him and any of his other works in Japan. He even shares the same amount of respect as Osamu Tezuka (helps that Yanase and Tezuka had a very close relationship during both of their lifetimes).

Melissa Benoist

The star of Supergirl very much became this after her reveal of the abusive relationship she went through with Blake Jenner, one that even took place during the filming of the first season and resulted in her having to lie on live TV about why she received a nasty eye injury. Several other violent incidents occurred and so much manipulation and controlling behaviour was lived through, but eventually she managed to get out and meet Chris Wood, whom she is now married to and has a child with. She's been given the moniker of "the real life Supergirl" countless times and is praised for her kindness by fans, so God help you if you say that she just made up her abuse story or even side with Blake's claim that the abuse was "mutual".

Mariano Rivera

The closer for the New York Yankees who blew his third postseason save in 2004... and ended up breaking the Curse of the Bambino. While he was booed by Yankees fans at the time, he proved he still had staying power the very next season. As a result, if you diss him in the presence a Yankees fan and a Red Sox fan while they are in the middle of a heated argument, it's all but a guarantee that they will set aside their differences to whale on you. There's a reason why he was the first unanimous induction in Cooperstown's history, after all. He was also the last player to wear the number 42, wearing it long after the number was retired across all of Major League Baseball in honor of the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and given the special, well-earned place for Rivera in the history of baseball as one of its all-time greats, right up there with Robinson, it was only fitting.

Satoru Iwata

Iwata, combined with Dead Artists Are Better, is more or less impossible to make fun of nowadays, due to stories about his expert programming skills and how he took pay cuts from his salary instead of lay off workers, which is a large contrast to how other companies prefer to have mass layoffs or hire and fire developers in a short timespan, something that Jim Sterling has taken note of multiple times. There also the fact that Iwata's last communication with fans was in response to the backlash at Nintendo's E3 2015 announcements, which was Iwata promising that next year would be better. Unfortunately, he didn't live to see next year, and to this days, fans are still bitter about how their last words to Iwata was them being angry and complaining.

  • Scott Ramsoomair used Iwata's death as a quick joke in one VG Cats in which Leo and Aeris loudly proclaimed it to secure a win in Splatoon; the backdraft can be described as "flame unto a dry forest", and the comic was edited quickly to remove the offending gag.

Stephen Hillenburg

SpongeBob SquarePants (especially the first three seasons) is essentially the Sacred Cow for cartoons to younger Millennials and Gen Z kids, so when it was announced that Stephen Hillenburg passed away of ALS complications in November of 2018, tributes to him were made everywhere, from both fans and Nickelodeon themselves.

Betty White

One of the oldest and most recognized actresses, as well as one of the most beloved. Even before her death on December 31, 2021, just weeks shy of her 100th birthday, you'd have been hard pressed to find anyone who would dare say a bad word about her, and those who do are met with immense backlash.

Tom Hanks

Not only is he one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood, he's also reportedly one of the most kindhearted. He's starred in so many famous and widely beloved films, and has dozens of awards under his belt. In addition, his warm and fatherly personality has endeared him to adults and kids alike for many years. It's no wonder that he was cast as fellow Unacceptable Target Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

  • On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Tom Hanks is often said to be an inherently good person that "nobody doesn't like".
    • In one episode that highlighted North Korea, "Weird Al" Yankovic performed a musical number called "The North Korea Polka (Please Don't Nuke Us)". One of the reasons he gave for why North Korea shouldn't nuke the United States is "Oh, why in the world would you kill Tom Hanks? 'Cause nobody doesn't like Tom Hanks!"
    • In "Eat Shit Bob: The Musical", John accuses Bob Murray of several ludicrous things, including bestiality, sadism, public indecency, being responsible for several tragedies (like the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and Hitler's rise to power), and not liking Tom Hanks.
  • Even Celebrity Deathmatch portrayed Tom Hanks as an incredibly kind man without a mean bone in his body. Before his fight against Sean Penn, he consciously decided to undergo rigorous torture in order to make him angry, but even that doesn't work. What eventually pushes him to destroy his opponent is seeing Sean Penn beat up a defenseless photographer.
  • Christopher Titus quantifies this concept in his special "Voice In My Head", saying that Tom Hanks has built up the most "douchebag credits" of any celebrity - essentially, he's built up so much goodwill that he can get away with anything. The hypothetical example he gives is that if someone sees the headline "Tom Hanks punches nun", your first question would probably be "What the hell did that nun do to Tom Hanks?"

Christopher Reeve

Widely considered to be the definitive Superman, after becoming quadriplegic in a horse-riding injury in 1995, he was respected as a passionate disability rights activist who continued his career as a director. After his death in 2004, his legacy was set as a true and gracious hero, whether with or without a cape.

    Works 

Works and Creators of any work that is considered as "True Art"

See Also: It's Popular, Now It Sucks!, True Art, Sacred Cow, Critical Dissonance, and Public Medium Ignorance.

An example of this when it comes to media instead of people: Whenever and wherever the It's Popular, Now It Sucks! trope is in effect, any media that fits any of the True Art categories; as well as their creators, are granted immunity to any form of criticism in any way in these areas. In other words, these are works which are met with near universal approval and are outside the bounds of criticism for some even if flaws are present. Covering anything from a whole series down to props within that universe, these works are considered so either out of respect, nostalgia, or plain fan love.

Unfortunately, this also means a fair critique cannot be made against it at any point in time as it'll be met with the same revulsion as Squick-inducing shipping or trolling. Furthermore, many of these works tend to get a free pass when it comes to flaws that popular works would be slammed if they didn't bear such a pass. An unfortunate amount of Fan Dumb, Fandom Heresy, Nostalgia Filter, and The Law of Fan Jackassery tend to come from this.

Anime and Manga

  • Any series that has major Deconstruction elements tend to be this. Most forums discussing those kinds of works are lacking criticism because they're off-limits from such things for some reasons. Note that it's usually the darker ones that are untouchable; lighter deconstructions and Deconstructive Parodies, however, are usually fair game.
  • Shows with antagonistic knife-toting Yanderes receive a similar treatment as well, especially if said characters are glorified in the fandom, no matter how unjustified their actions are. Becomes less and less so after the entire thing slowly becomes a tedium due to lack of variation and the unfortunate stabbing of a man by his ax-crazy yandere girlfriend in 2019, which hurts the already divisive fandom's reputation. But even then you can see some vocal fanatic longing by.
  • Azumanga Daioh, for the same reason as Yotsuba&! below. The English dub of the anime adaptation, though, is a free game, as it straddles a fine line between passable and downright annoying.
  • On the websites of MAHQ, Anime Suki, and Anime News Network you are not allowed to criticize Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 Warin The Pocket, ∀ Gundam, or Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. Upon doing so you are labeled a troll and often banned regardless of how on topic and civil you are. /m/ took notice and the Gundam fandom broke into pieces. When ANN was hacked in August 2017, /a/ joked it might have been /m/ considering their deep resentment for reviews of not just Gundam, but Mecha Anime reviews on the whole.
  • There are many places on the internet where criticizing or, heaven forbid, making fun (outside of Dragon Ball Z Abridged, which is an Affectionate Parody) of Dragon Ball Z will get your head ripped off. It was a massive part of so many people's childhoods, just don't go there. This only applies to the original manga and the first two anime series, as it is common practice among fans to pretend Dragon Ball GT doesn't exist and Dragon Ball Super has some base-breaking plot elements, and as well as its Off-Model moments, especially in the entire Battle of Gods saga and Resurrection F saga (though it get fixed in Blu-Ray releases)
  • In Japan, the king of this trope is the resident Kodomomuke icon Anpanman. It's fine to parody the show or send a couple of jokes its way, but outright mocking it is a major no-no for writers, since nearly every kid in Japan practically grew up watching it. Case in point: when Osomatsu-san did a parody of the show and had its Anpanman analogue acting creepy and somewhat perverted, the episode was removed from airplay and all of the segments featuring it were cut from the show's DVD release. The fact that one of the members on the television board was a fan of Anpanman just shows how far the show reaches.
  • Doraemon comes in at a close second in terms of untouchable shows, though it has slightly more leeway with criticism and its parodies. See how quickly the pornographic spoof Nozoemon got cancelled as an example.
    • It is not an good idea to publicly hate (or insult) the Doraemon franchise in within earshot of the Vietnamese peoples who grow up with the Japanese manga series for many years since 1992.
    • Also, outside of Vietnam, there's almost no one (probably with the exception of overzealous parents who see that the main human character is a smooching slacker with low grade at school) who have hated Doraemon franchise in Asian countries such of China, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong, and Southeast Asian countries such of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Phillippines, and as you expect it, Spain.
    • There's almost nobody who hates the famous Hong Kong voice actor Lam Pou-chuen since he's voicing the titular character of the anime series for many years until his death on 2015.
    • The same applies to the late Nurhasanah, Doraemon's Indonesian voice actress who passed away in 2020, a beloved figure as much as Doraemon himself.
    • An extreme case happened on Taiwan in 2013, when someone from Hong Kong redesigned Ecstasy into Doraemon-head and sell into Taiwan only for profit, it pissed the local authorities off that even scolded the man for slandering Doraemon's image as the idol of every children and said that Doraemon only encourage Nobita to study and not encourage to take drugs when they arrested the man. note  A few years later, it zig-zagged when the smiliar case happened in Thailand, it even caused Japanese peoples uses images from the Doraemon manga and posted on social websites in response of this.

Asian Animation

  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf was once considered untouchable before a major burnt injury accident happened in 2013, though the series were slowly trying to get back this status, though it also has slightly more leeway with criticism and its parodies. When a Chinese hospital printed an abortion-encouragment ad featuring Pleasant Goat characters without permission from Creative Power Entertaining and someone put it on online after saw the promo, it eventually caused controversy. This even also caused more controversial when they found out that the ad has adapted into animated television commercial and aired on Chinese television, and for worse, the another ad features Wolffy and Wolnie. Poor Wilie.
  • Upin & Ipin were also considered untouchable in Malaysia and Indonesia, though it never received the same protection outside those countries.
    • Zig-zagged. Fizi caused controversy among fans and received a lots of flak for his insensitive remarks towards the twins (as a mockery to them) in Eid Fitr Special in 2020, even still to this day, especially after some of his more insensitive remarks from past episodes come to light. (See the orphans section at the General for further information.)
    • Also, if you're a non-Muslim living in Malaysia, particularly in one of the west coast cities, hating Upin and Ipin is fair game because of Values Dissonancenote  - the show is particularly tailored towards rural Muslims and has a conservative bias, which alienates those who believe in different religions and a more progressive and secular lifestyle, of which most are concentrated in said West coast areas.

Comic Books

  • The comic community site Scans Daily seems to have a rule of "The more mainstream it is, the more critical we are." High-profile works, in particular, seem to be prone to get picked apart, while lesser-known comics are considered off-limits to criticism.
  • Watchmen: You don't insult it if you enjoy having skin. That said, jokes about Warner Brothers' shabby treatment of Watchmen creator Alan Moore seem to be okay with comic fans — for example, "Watchmen Babies in: V for Vacation" and "Saturday Morning Watchmen".

Fan Fiction

  • It's debatable if the exploitation of the childlike Kokiri in Zelda's Honor was a necessary evil for the villains to proceed with their plans. Some of the abuse can be quite shocking; to a point where a few reviewers/readers weren't even sure they could continue reading the fanfic.

Film

  • It's really (and with good reason) rare to see criticism of works by acclaimed directors like Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Michelangelo Antonioni, Andrei Tarkovsky, Agnès Varda, Roberto Rossellini, Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Satyajit Ray, Akira Kurosawa, the majority of Italian Neorealism, French New Wave (and Japanese New Wave, Czechoslovak New Wave, New German Cinema, Fifth and Sixth Generation of Chinese Cinema, etc.) and other respected auteurs. Whenever criticism does occur it's usually by people who don't watch these kind of films in the first place and therefore they aren't taken seriously anyway.
  • No matter what your opinions of the later films, the first Back to the Future film is beyond reproach.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail has this reputation too. Merely daring to suggest that it's not that funny or perhaps not the best Python film or product around will anger a lot of people who will diss you for not having a sense of humor or not being smart enough to get it. Especially the latter comment is quite odd, because most fans of Holy Grail only repeat the most accessible jokes, like the coconuts gag and the Black Knight, for instance.
  • A lot of Soviet movies/animation get this treatment, accompanied by Nostalgia Filter. Don't even try to question the morals behind movies or consider them outdated. Also don't even try to suggest the possibility that a comedian funnier than the Nikulin-Vitsyn-Margunov trio may exist, just don't. That being said, post-Soviet movies/animation in Russia are very much Acceptable Targets, especially Russian Hollywood.
  • The Toy Story fandom is full of people who will rip you to shreds for daring to say that you hated it. In particular, complaining about Toy Story 3 will cause many people to wonder how in the hell you weren't touched by the ending. The fourth film is the exception, as despite featuring the aforementioned Keanu Reeves, it has proven itself to be rather polarizing between those that found it disappointing and those that found it to be a worthy incarnation of the franchise, with the ending in particular being highly contested due to the quality of 3.
  • Claiming that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is anything less than a masterpiece in front of any hardcore animation fan is a recipe for detraction.
  • Most movies by Legendary Pictures, especially the ones produced in The New '10s such as Pacific Rim (with clear exception of the sequel), MonsterVerse, and Pokémon Detective Pikachu, as they are usually underrated next to the other blockbuster at the time. This is a case of Critical Dissonance, as while the films are beloved cult classics among fans, critics highly vary from positive to mixed to even negative.
  • Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, the Original Trilogy, are very much unacceptable targets. Or at least the former two are, as Jedi is often mocked for the Ewoks, Leia's slave outfit (at least to those who aren't drooling over it), and the revelation that Luke and Leia are twin siblings despite having been Ship Teased prior to that. Aside from that, it is difficult to criticize these films without drawing ire from Star Wars fans and any parodies of them must be Affectionate ones. The prequel and sequel trilogies, however, are widely disparaged. Most of the changes made in the George Lucas Altered Versions of the original trilogy are also fair game, with a few exceptions (such as replacing the Marjorie Eaton Emperor Palpatine in The Empire Strikes Back with Ian McDiarmid's Palpatine).
  • While initially an Acclaimed Flop, The Big Lebowski has since become a Cult Classic with a devoted fanbase. Suggest that the film is anything less than a masterpiece, or that things could be improved upon, like The Nostalgia Critic did, and you are entering a world of pain.
  • Black Panther. The superhero who gave a generation of kids (and some adults) their first role model, with the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of its genre. If it wasn't this before, it became this with the shocking announcement of Chadwick Boseman's death in 2020, and the revelation he had spent his entire career as T'Challa secretly fighting the cancer that would kill him.

Live-Action TV

  • Examples of these include the Clarkson era of Top Gear (UK). The later eras are fair game however.
  • American television in general, at least to people who are not American. Expressing your distaste for it can cause lots of Netflix lovers to come at you and blame you for being so rose-tinted about your crappy culture and insulting something that is inherently better.
  • LazyTown is an interesting case, so that's why it's here rather than in the Nostalgia Filter category below. In addition to the people who grew up with LazyTown, there are many people who grew to like the series after "We Are Number One" became popular, especially the SiIvaGunner community, since that's the channel that launched the meme in the first place. Saying anything bad about LazyTown and Stefan Karl Stefansson or that "We Are Number One" is a bad or dead meme is off-limits to both nostalgic LazyTown fans and SiIvaGunner memelords after Stefan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2016 and eventually passed away in 2018.
  • You do not bash The Muppets, especially not The Muppet Show, The Muppet Movie, Fraggle Rock, or The Muppet Christmas Carol. This extends to Sesame Street and Bear in the Big Blue House (mentioned in the nostalgia section). You especially do not disrespect Jim Henson.

Literature

  • Any novel or series acknowledged as a classic. Pointing out flaws in the work is almost always acceptable, but dismissing the entire thing as garbage usually provokes universal outrage.
    • For example, if you mock The Lord of the Rings, hordes of angry Tolkien fans will be on your case.
    • This does vary somewhat book to book, as a lot of the School Study Media books have a divisiveness — you either loved the book and embraced it whole-heartedly, or you loathed having it shoved down your throat getting poor grades on book reports.
  • Religious scriptures, in general, are also this; bashing the scriptures is considered equal to bashing their associated religion and will net you universal outrage, at least from that religion.
    • For example, in Chinese Buddhist religion, dismiss/bashing/burning Buddhist sutras books and scriptures can be punishable in hell after death.
      • That being said, The Jade Guidebook (Chinese: 玉历宝钞 Yù lì bǎo chāo), does have recorded two consequences of those who disrespected/dismiss/mocking/bashing/vandalizing/burning the said book, and even trying to call (or promote) peoples in public to do the same as the detractor did, so you (even if you're Buddhism monks or Taoists), better not trying to be jealous of that sutra guidebook and then insult it, or else unthinkable consequences might occur. Liuxian once told about the consequences those detractors received as said below:
    Liuxian: I am Liuxian, and the ancestor Feng gave an instruction:
    Nowadays, people don’t know how to practice and often commit crimes. Fortunately, the emperor approved the memorandum of the bodhisattvas and gods and awarded jade to persuade the world, hoping to make the world change its wrongs and do good, so he added extra grace and allowed to offset the previous sins.
    Unexpectedly, bald thief Da Yuan, rat Guan Xian, jealous that the Jade Guidebook hinders their business, want to eliminate them; under the guise of Fuluan, inciting people's hearts. Those sins must should fall into hell and suffer the tortune, and act according to its heart, reincarnate in the corresponding evil ways. Examine after the date of suffering in hell expires, and then send it to the Great Avici Hell, and never be released for eternity, and will unable to attain enlightenment, and will never live beyond birth.
    Next time in the future, if there's another monks and Taoists who are jealous of this book, they will still deal with the conseqeunces that Da Yuan and Guan Xian received.
  • Harry Potter receives this treatment as well, because of how big a part it was of a lot of people's childhoods. This only extends to the seven books in the main series. Refusing to acknowledge the extended canon on Pottermore is acceptable, criticizing the movies is a widespread practice, mocking Rowling's retcons that started in The New '10s (most infamously the vanishing poop spell) is equally common, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a Contested Sequel. Notably, even Rowling herself is not given this same protection thanks to the aforementioned retcons and her controversial views on the transgender community.

Music

Toys

  • LEGO. Popular with children, even more so with teenagers and adults, with most of the teenagers and adult fanbases are those who eventually can afford it by their own pocket money. As such, badmouthing it is a terrible idea in almost any situation.
    • Unless you are complaining about their high price per set,
    • A parent who complain about how kids often left those pieces on the floor, which is affectionate for the fanbase showing how tough those LEGO pieces are,
    • Or a single adult lamenting the recent corporate decision to ban people who do not have children accompanying them from being allowed to enter certain Lego theme parks except on particular weekday evenings (who has time to go to Legoland on Wednesday evenings when they have to work the next day?!? Especially if the nearest Legoland is a hundred miles away?!? Even worse is that they are not allowed on any of the rides at all during these visits). Some groups of fans are not buying Lego’s claim that it is to stop paedophiles from entering the park and kidnapping kids- there are less bothersome ways to prevent kidnappings, and they believe that Lego put up the rule to ridicule their bad luck with love or their lifestyle choice of remaining single.
    • Even more so for the long-since discontinued and ended BIONICLE toyline, which is usually credited with saving LEGO during the early 2000s, along with their LEGO Star Wars line, is enriched with a complex Myth Arc and lots and lots of supplementary material, including but not limited to comics, novels, and Direct-to-DVD Films, which not only sets it apart from other Merchandise-Driven franchises, but also other LEGO lines. To sum it up: BIONICLE is an Unacceptable Target inside an Unacceptable Target (LEGO).

Theatre

Video Games

  • CD Projekt RED not only for making The Witcher series, but also listening to consumer feedback, and always provide their games without DRM thanks to how they also running GOG.com, which also sells DRM-free games from other publishers and generally made them work better. This is also reinforced with how committed they are developing Cyberpunk 2077, which features the surprise casting of Keanu Reeves and free DLC.
    • Subverted once Cyberpunk was released, as in the end, it's a glitchy, underwhelming game at best, or a nigh-unplayable Porting Disaster at worst, as well as how very highly controversial the report of crunch working done to get the game out in the leg end of 2020.
  • Anything by Falcom due to their games unusually have high production values for a small, independent game development studio that stands strong on their own since the early eighties.
  • Anything by FromSoftware, where those who complain about the difficulty will be usually told to "git gud", with the possible exception of some of their Porting Disaster instances (which has since been fixed), and Steel Battalion Heavy Armor because of its incredibly poor controls inherent to the Kinect hardware.
  • SCS Software and their two Magnum Opus, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator because of developer's love and care, relaxing gameplay, attention to detail, high production values, open consumer feedbacks, and keep delivering new content for years, is enough to endear even gamers not known to enjoy simulations as well as non-gamers.
  • Fallout: New Vegas is enjoyed by old-school fans who rejoiced at the return of the witty and well-written storyline and script from some of the writers of the first two Fallout games, and by new fans introduced by Fallout 3 or The Elder Scrolls series for improvement on the gameplay, atmosphere, design, and storyline over Fallout 3. Unless you are complaining about the bugs, issues or janky gameplay, in which fixes are aplenty thanks to the game modding community. Fallout 76, however, is fair game due to its controversial launch.
    • On the topic of Fallout fans, they, along with The Elder Scrolls fans, are also fans of modding. Don't like the idea of modding? be prepared to be called a console fanboy and lazy.
  • Nintendo, while not entirely an unacceptable target thanks to their infamous DMCA takedowns of fangames, refusal to acknowledge regions outside Europe, The Americas, Australia and Japan, also refusal to acknowledge some of their franchises (such as MOTHER series or F-Zero) properly outside of Super Smash Bros., has many of their games treated as this:
    • The Mother series (especially Mother 3), and for that matter anything made by Shigesato Itoi, is beyond criticism. Detractors will face the wrath of the Starmen.net community, /v/, Nintendo fans, and the fans of all three of The Runaway Guys.
      • Interestingly enough, Mother 3 is actually looked at with a generally very negative fan sentiment from its home country, as explained halfway through this Q&A article from EarthboundCentral — perhaps, in America, due in large part to being officially unreleased, and the massive work of the fan-translation project several years later, Mother 3 is seen as a Sacred Cow and Unacceptable Target in the West...but in Japan, that particular installment is ridiculed, bashed, and hated on the Japanese internet. Often. With many Japanese fans even considering Itoi to be "a washed-up old hack". Quite a strange example of region-specific aversion in the case of Mother 3. However, of course, Mother 2/EarthBound is still very much true to this trope no matter which side of the Pacific you reside on, as is MOTHER to a lesser extent...unless you want to mock the extreme difficulty of the first game, particularly the final area or if you are Dr. Sparkle (He noted that it were mainly the pop culture elements that made the game unique and that it would otherwise have been a generic RPG and that the game had lots of flaws. He still said that it was the one of the two best games of the episodes (tied up with Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti)).
    • Generally speaking, you might be able to get away with claiming any The Legend of Zelda games (except the CD-I games, of course, which is a fair subject for mockery and memes) is overrated, surpassed by its own successors, or simply not your cup of tea. If, however, you attempt to dismiss it as being bad you'll immediately be ridiculed as an ignorant Philistine at best, or flamed to within an inch of your metaphorical life at worst. Egoraptor lampshaded this in his Sequelitis episode, in case of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
    Egoraptor: I am harshly criticizing Ocarina of Time on the internet! I'm gonna get crucified!
  • Say you didn't play Psychonauts and no one will think twice, it being a relatively obscure Cult Classic. Say you played it and didn't care for it, on the other hand....
  • Undertale, as the game is truly made with love (not LOVE), featuring a unique approach on the JRPG formula, and how social interactions with in-game characters are encouraged. Even if one give an honest but negative opinion on it he better disable comments and still brace for impact.
    • That being said, this is something of a subversion. While Undertale fans are indeed very vocal about defending their game, there also exists an equally large and vocal Hatedom that is ready to bash the game every chance they get due to overexposure from the fanbase.
  • Valve games, particularly Half-Life, including the spinoffs Opposing Force and Blue Shift, Half-Life 2 and its episodes, Portal and its sequel, Team Fortress 2, and Counter-Strike, with the exception of CS:GO (due to the mockery associated with the often toxic esports community, its skin and crate based economy breeding scammers and in response, strict market or gameplay limitations, also controversial changes Valve done to the game), Counter-Strike Nexon Zombies (due it being a blatant pandering Allegedly Free Game with poor balancing), and Artifact (due to being something nobody asked for as well as pricey entry price for card games).
    • The fact that Valve ran Steam also helps, as it credited as one of the thing that saved PC gaming and erodes intrusive DRM schemes infamous in The 2000s. Though Steam itself isn't an unacceptable target due to criticisms on market quality control (where highly inappropriate games as well as downright scams and malwares disguised as games existed) and slightly overzealous security (where if switching device used for gaming, you need either Steam Guard which requires an active e-mail address, or a Mobile Authenticator which requires a mobile device and an active phone number. The former is mandatory if one wants to take advantage of the market features, and the latter is optional but often recommended).
    • Special mention goes to Left 4 Dead, where Left 4 Dead 2 were criticized hard for being a quickly-made sequel made to cash in the then-new IP while it was three years after Episode Two of Half-Life 2 ended in cliffhanger, but it died down as Left 4 Dead 2 turns out to be an Even Better Sequel and all contents from the first Left 4 Dead is available to Left 4 Dead 2 as of 2011, two years after its initial release.
    • Then came 2020, where Half-Life: Alyx was released, as not only the game is well-made and praised by pretty much everyone who can afford VR and the game, but the game managed to tease continuation of Half-Life with a twist nobody expected.
    • In the subject of fan-games, Black Mesa, as it succeeded to bring in Half-Life to modern sensibilities, to the point that Dario Casali, long-time Valve developer who also worked on Half-Life: Alyx, used Black Mesa as a reference to readjust to the series during development after finding out it's more fun to play with than the original Half-Life.
  • Despite negative stereotypes among common gamers concerning free-to-play games, Warframe has been praised as an example of Free-to-play game done right, with surprisingly reasonable amount of monetization versus the unusually high production value and active community-developer relations of the live service-based MMO.
  • Tied with The Simpsons example below, The Simpsons: Hit & Run is well liked due to the game's nigh perfect attempt to recapture the feel and jokes of the show (though Lighter and Softer in attempt to make it family friendly, despite eventually rated Teen), amazing voice acting and soundtrack, and being a Wide-Open Sandbox that faithfully recreate Springfield, though it was split into three different sections.

Western Animation

TV Tropes Wiki

  • Let's just say that this tends to be a creed by some Tropers here.

Yotsuba

Trolling websites such as 4chan, Encyclopedia Dramatica, etc. have a nearly unlimited list of Acceptable Targets...yet even in their circles they have Unacceptable Targets, one of which is the title character of Yotsuba&!. You do not ask for Rule 34 of Yotsuba; they will destroy you. Without regret.

Web Original

TV Tropes Wiki

  • In fact, one of the working titles for this trope was "Yotsuba Is Off Limits".

Anything that ingrained themselves into peoples' childhoods

Trying to mock somebody's childhood media isn't a good idea, especially if more than one person grew up with it. Almost any fandom well be at your mercy if you say anything bad about their childhood media.

Comic Strips

  • Bashing Rupert Bear is a really bad idea, as its been around for 100 years and has been a part of many generations' childhoods. However, mocking Rupert and the Diamond Leaf for its racial stereotypes contradicting the franchise's racial harmony themes is generally accepted, but don't use it or the fact the comic runs in the right-wing Daily Express to condemn the whole franchise.

Live-Action TV

  • While making fun of Barney & Friends was once acceptable, bashing the show way too hard has become a no-no in recent years, even among those who hate it. Many a example of anti-Barney humor has since been seen as retroactively tasteless in recent years.
  • The David Tench Tonight show once had an interview with Anthony and Murray of The Wiggles wherein the band's characters were heavily mocked. It didn't go well. For more information, see it under Music below.
  • Sesame Street might as well be considered the Alternate Company Equivalent to the Mister Rogers example. Insulting or mocking the show or its characters within earshot of anybody who grew up with it is a very bad idea.
  • The trashing of the Blue Peter garden by vandals in The '80s led to loud calls for those responsible to be hung, drawn and quartered.
  • And Afrikaner comedian Casper de Vries was heavily criticized after doing an adult parody of kids' puppet show Die Liewe Heksie.
  • People who grew up with Bear in the Big Blue House don't like when the show is bashed due to it essentially being probably the best example of a preschool show done right.

Music

Literature

  • If you bash Dr. Seuss based solely on his parodic newspaper cartoons, the cheating on his wife that he regretted, or the racial stereotypes pointed out in some of his books in March 2021, it will not end well. Ever.
  • The Berenstain Bears. Although quite a few critics hate it, taking on a Caustic Critic tone when bashing the beloved book series is forbidden under any circumstances. Hanna Rosin of Slate saw the overall usage of this trope enforced upon her when she wrote a negative article about the series following Jan Berenstain's death (even going as far as to say "good riddance"), only for readers to angrily call her out on the status of the article as being in poor taste and insensitive tone she took, of which she subsequently apologized for.

Toys

Western Animation

  • Hating on Bob the Builder (or to be specific, the episodes before Ready, Steady, Build!) isn't a good idea if Brits who grew up with it are within earshot.
  • Do not say that you hate Thomas & Friends. It will never, EVER end well. The Nostalgia Critic ended up receiving a lot of flak from Thomas fans for his Thomas and the Magic Railroad review, and when British mother Tracy Van Slyke complained in a The Guardian article about supposed "racist undertones", "sexism" and "anti-enviromentalism" in the series she was met with a flaming response from the fandom.
  • PB&J Otter has a fandom that doesn't take hatred for it kindly. Don't even dare to call it a "baby show".
  • It's never a good idea to say anything negative about Blue's Clues or Steve Burns.
  • Apart from the shows listed in the True Art folder, dissing the beloved shows of the 90s/2000s around 90s/2000s kids, especially because they're "new" compared to your generation, will get you torches and pitchforks.
  • It's not a good idea to bash VeggieTales around Christians who grew up in the 90s. Even some people of other religions and Atheists consider the show untouchable.

National Anthems

There is no faster way to get an entire nation angry at you than to mock (or parody) their national anthem. Even mocking your own is venturing into dangerous territory. Sports fans cross this line at their own peril.

Depicting a flag upside down

Another quick way to anger an entire nation is to depict their flag upside down (except as a distress signal). Bonus points if the flag is a simple striped one and rotating it 180 degrees results in a flag of a different country.

    Other 

Pets

Pets are frequently likened to human children, and most people would never think of harming them. Playing animal abuse for laughs is an easy way to arouse fury from viewers; actually harming these creatures will incur their wrath. Concerning non-livestock animals very common to be pets such as cats, dogs, and certain types of fish and bird, those who openly say that they dine on those, Values Dissonance notwithstanding, will incur the wrath of most people around the world.

Web Original

Western Animation

Once Acceptable Targets

Some Once Acceptable Targets can also be Unacceptable Targets at times, although not always.


Alternative Title(s): Unacceptable Target

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