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Top 10 Cartoons Banned and Censored Around the World

by M David Scott
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

Cartoons are loved by children and even adults across the world. While many of them may seem innocent, sometimes they push the boundaries a little too far. Some of the most popular cartoons have seen episodes and entire collections censored and banned in different countries for several reasons such as violence, drinking, smoking, sexual scenes, and suicide. Check out the following list to find out if your favorite cartoons have been banned and censored.

Related: 10 Unsettling Cartoons From Around The World Meant For Children

10 SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most popular cartoons and follows SpongeBob and his friends through several adventures in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. The program is the highest-rated series to air on Nickelodeon, and the show has generated billions of dollars in revenue. However, even though the extremely popular show seems mostly innocent, certain episodes pushed the envelope too far, causing the episodes to be banned.

Season 3’s “Mid-Life Crustacean” episode hasn’t aired since 2018. SpongeBob, his friend Patrick, and his boss Mr. Krabs have a crazy night out in the episode, and they end up breaking into a woman’s house and stealing her underwear. Some elements of the story were found to be inappropriate for kids. The season 12 episode “Kwarantined Krab” was pulled due to the sensitivities surrounding the real-world pandemic we are currently living in. In the episode, a health inspector tells patrons at the Krusty Krab restaurant that someone has “Clam Flu,” which causes the inspector to quarantine everyone inside the building.[1]

SpongeBob Squarepants first aired in 1999, with new episodes still being aired on Nickelodeon and several streaming platforms.

9 Tiny Toon Adventures

One Beer – Banned Cartoon

Tiny Toon Adventures consisted of characters that resembled the younger versions of Looney Tunes classics like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig. These characters attended Acme Looniversity, where they learned to become animated comedic stars. The kids’ cartoon initially aired on CBS and then on Fox Kids from 1990 to 1995. Reruns were aired on Nickelodeon, Kids WB, Cartoon Network, YTV, Mediaset, TV Tokyo, and several other stations around the world. It was replaced by Animaniacs, although a reboot was announced in 2020 (set to air in 2022, possibly).

“Elephant Issues” was an episode that consisted of three segments. One of the segments was named “One Beer,” which was banned due to its alcohol-imbibing content. The episode shows Plucky, Hampton, and Buster drinking alcohol and going on drunken adventures before driving off a cliff and ascending to toon heaven. Not wanting young viewers to think that their favorite characters were dead due to their irresponsible behavior, a decision was made to no longer air the segment on network TV during the original time of airing. The segment can still be seen on the Volume Three DVD set and some cable cartoon networks.[2]

8 Steven Universe

Steven Universe | Ruby and Sapphire’s Wedding – They Fuse Into Garnet | Reunited | Cartoon Network

Steven Universe aired on Cartoon Network from 2013 to 2019. The character Steven Universe lived with a magical group of aliens known as the Crystal Gems. The cartoon was mainly made up of fun episodes about Steven and the Gems saving the world. The series has caused controversy, though, over its prominence of LGBTQ themes.

In Kenya, Steven Universe was one of many shows banned for promoting homosexuality.[3]. Cartoon Network UK also edited episodes of the animated series that included scenes of same-sex intimacy. The edits were made to make the episode “more comfortable for local kids and their parents.” Although there was slight controversy due to homosexual situations, the series did take home a Peabody Award and GLAAD Media Award and was nominated for five Emmy Awards.[4]

7 Cow and Chicken

La vaca y el pollito Buffalo Gals (Sub. Español)

If you grew up in the ’90s, you probably know all about the comedic cartoon Cow and Chicken. The odd series is about a cow named Cow and her chicken brother, Chicken, that are always trying to get duped by their enemy, The Red Guy. The Red Guy is usually running around with no pants and resembles the devil. It turned out to be one of the iconic cartoons on Cartoon Network in the 1990s.

The episode “Buffalo Gals” was only shown once before being removed by Cartoon Network. The episode was about the Buffalo Gals, a group of motorcycle-riding rough ladies who broke into Cow and Chicken’s home and started eating their carpet. The episode was filled with lesbian stereotypes, such as their love for softball and being confused for men, and it featured several derogatory jokes, including the one about carpet eating. The episode drew criticism from parents and was quickly pulled from the air.[5]

6 Talespin

TaleSpin – Theme Song | Disney+ Throwbacks | Disney+

Talespin was an animated Disney series featuring anthropomorphic animal characters adapted from The Jungle Book. The series was set in Cape Suzette 20 years after The Great War ended. It follows the adventures of Baloo the Bear, Kit Cloudkicker, Rebecca Cunningham, and others as they try to bring back a once-dying plane cargo freight business, but the crew faces several obstacles along the way.

In the episode “Flying Dupes,” Baloo the Bear thought he was delivering a housewarming present to the Thembrian High Marshall, but he was tricked into delivering a ticking time bomb. The episode was eventually banned for terrorist themes, but it was accidentally re-aired on Toon Disney in 1999.[6]

The cartoon originally only aired for one season in 1990 on the Disney Channel’s The Disney Afternoon.

5 Shin Chan

Shinchan episode in English

Shin Chan, better known as Crayon Shin-chan, is a Japanese manga series that follows the adventures of five-year-old Shinnosuke “Shin” Nohara and his family and friends. Shin Chan first appeared in a Japanese weekly magazine, but it was adapted into an animated series airing on TV Asahi two years later. The show has now aired in more than 40 countries in 30 different languages.

The animated series is fun for kids, but it is filled with dark comedy and weird humor that can be appreciated by adults only. The adult humor was a bit much for viewers in India, and the country soon banned the series from being shown, worrying that it was a bad influence on kids. A couple of years later, the Indian Censor Board edited many of the words and scenes of nudity before allowing it to be shown on television again.[7]

4 Batman: Brave and the Bold

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD – “The Masks of Matches Malone!” – The Bird’s of Prey Song

One of the many cartoon Batman series to find its way on television was Batman: Brave and the Bold, which aired from 2008 to 2011. The animated series followed Batman as he teamed up with various DC Comic heroes to fight supervillains and crime. The series was more lighthearted to appeal to a younger audience, but one episode was filled with sexual references that only adults could enjoy.

In episode 24 of season 2, “The Mask of Matches Malone,” Batman, Black Canary, and Huntress are out to stop Two-Face, which is what Catwoman is also trying to do herself. Batman ends up with amnesia and thinks he is a gangster, meaning the girls must now stop him and Two-Face. In the episode, Birds of Prey (Huntress, Black Canary, and Catwoman) perform a song together that is “sexually suggestive” due to the lyrics and gestures. The episode never aired in the U.S., but it was added as a bonus episode on the Season 3 DVD.[8]

3 Gravity Falls

15 Gravity Falls Scenes That Were Changed In Other Countries

In Gravity Falls, Dipper Pines and his twin sister Mabel are sent to the fictional Gravity Falls, Oregon, to spend time with their great-uncle, Grunkle Stan. The town is filled with local mysteries involving the paranormal and supernatural. The animated series ran from 2012 to 2016 on Disney Channel and Disney XD, and the show won several awards, including two Emmys. However, regardless of how loved the show is by all ages, it has also seen its share of censorship.

When Gravity Falls started streaming on Disney+, the symbol on Grunkle Stan’s fez was removed. The fez symbol resembled a masonic-like group, but it was ultimately removed due to its resemblance to Islamic iconography. Several of the show’s scenes and phrases have also been censored across Asia and Latin America to create a more suitable show for younger audiences. The international branches of Disney Channel worked to remove the offensive language, violence, dangerous behavior, and references to death to help gear the show toward pre-teens.[9]

2 Peppa Pig

The Episode of Peppa Pig That Got Banned In Australia

Peppa Pig is an animated children’s series geared toward a younger audience than most other series on this list. The show follows a pig named Peppa, her little brother George, and the rest of their family as they embark on journeys together. The show was created to help children better understand new experiences they may face in the real world.

The wildly popular cartoon has been banned in China due to being associated with “society people,” which is slang for gangsters and the poorly educated. Peppa Pig has shown up in rap videos and tattoos across the country and is now seen as a form of rebellion and counterculture. The episode “Mister Skinnylegs” was also banned in Australia because Peppa’s dad teaches her that spiders won’t hurt you, which we know is not true for that part of the world.[10]

1 Winnie the Pooh

How Winnie The Pooh Has Been Censored

You’re probably asking yourself, “How in the world is Winnie the Pooh banned anywhere?” The animated series about a fictional teddy bear that loves honey couldn’t be anything but harmless, right? Unfortunately, Chinese authorities seem to think differently.

In 2017, the dumpy Winnie the Pooh was being used by bloggers in comparison with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Several pictures popped up online of Winnie the Pooh that resembled Xi in a similar fashion. When President Xi stuck his head out of the roof of his limousine, a picture of Pooh appeared with his head popping out of a little car. The Chinese officials made it clear that they would shut down any form of discussions that went against the Communist Party.[11]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen