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Top 10 Cartoons Banned in Other Countries

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Trevor J Fonvergne
Not all countries are as welcoming of our animated friends. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down the Top 10 Cartoons Banned in Other Countries. For this list, we’re looking at series that no longer air in countries outside of North America for a variety of reasons. We should clarify that the definition of a “ban” is flexible, so we’ll be looking at both shows that have been banned entirely as well as shows that stopped airing in certain countries.
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Not all countries are as welcoming of our animated friends. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down the Top 10 Cartoons Banned in Other Countries.

For this list, we’re looking at series that no longer air in countries outside of North America for a variety of reasons. We should clarify that the definition of a “ban” is flexible, so we’ll be looking at both shows that have been banned entirely as well as shows that stopped airing in certain countries.


#10: “Steven Universe” (2013-)


In North America, “Steven Universe” has been praised for its portrayal of LGBT characters, particularly that of Garnet. However, other countries haven’t been quite so receptive. The show has been banned or stopped airing in Kenya and many Middle Eastern countries and while specific reasons haven’t been given for each country, it’s probably safe to say that the show’s gay themes and characters are the culprit. We don’t really have to point out how ridiculous this is, as “Steven Universe” sends messages of love and acceptance to its audiences and counts itself among the best animated series currently on the air.




#9: “SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-)


SpongeBob is everyone’s favorite talking sea sponge, and was even quite popular in China until – and even after – his ban in 2006. Though “SpongeBob” has been aroused some small controversies throughout the show's lifetime, none of these are the cause of the ban. Rather, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television axed the show in order to replace it with Chinese-produced programming. The move was allegedly due to Chinese authorities not being pleased with the influence of foreign pop culture on its youth, as well as a desire to boost their economy with more domestic animation production.




#8: “Cow and Chicken” (1995-99)


“Cow and Chicken” always took pleasure in how bizarre it was. When talking about the show being banned, the conversation is usually directed to a controversial episode called “Buffalo Gals,” which heavily featured innuendos to sex acts. This episode only aired once and hasn’t been included on most releases. However, the show has been ignored and even banned in India for a much more innocent reason. Because cows are important in Hinduism, the dominant religion in India, the show’s comical take on the animal protagonist didn’t sit well with broadcasters over there.




#7: “Peppa Pig” (2004-)


Did you know that “Peppa Pig” promotes a gangster lifestyle in China? Yeah, neither did we. The main character, Peppa, has become the unlikely symbol for an internet community known as “shehuiren.” All videos featuring her were removed from the popular video app Douyin, in May 2018. The ban was prompted by the group’s use of Peppa in various memes, some of which were considered vulgar. Though it’s unclear whether or not it was government-demanded, the subculture is said to have anti-establishment views, and President Xi Jinping hasn't been shy about restricting cartoon characters.




#6: “Happy Tree Friends” (1999-2004)


To say that “Happy Tree Friends” is a violent show is an understatement. Despite appearing to be a cute children’s cartoon, it always devolves into horrifically violent accidents. It’s because of this brutal violence that Russia decided to ban the series in 2008. When the broadcaster’s license with Mondo Media ran out, Russia decided to stop airing the cartoon. The network claimed that this was because Russian viewers “did not get” the series, though the whole situation appears to have been started by a complaint from a government watchdog group.


#5: “Winnie the Pooh” franchise (1966-)


Though “Winnie the Pooh” is a long and beloved series of animated shows and movies, it managed to stir up some controversy in China for an admittedly ridiculous reason. It all began with a 2013 meme that compared Chinese President Xi Jinping’s appearance to the titular stuffed bear. Many memes followed, mocking the leader, which the Chinese government called “a serious effort to undermine the dignity of the presidential office and Xi himself.” Ultimately, the lovable bear was banned entirely from the country to prevent any more memes from spreading.




#4: “The Loud House” (2016-)


It’s become fairly commonplace for animated children’s shows to feature, or at least hint at featuring LGBT characters. The series prominently features Harold and Howard, a gay couple who are the fathers of Clyde McBride. Additionally, a season two episode indicated that Luna, one of the Loud children, had a crush on another girl. However, the Kenya Film Classification Board considered this “disturbing content glorifying homosexual behavior,” and suspended the series in 2017. The same corporation also banned “Adventure Time” and “Hey Arnold!” for similar reasons.




#3: “South Park” (1997-)


If you have even a fleeting knowledge of “South Park,” this entry should come as no surprise. Some of its more controversial episodes no longer even air in the United States, but some countries, unsurprisingly, have banned the show entirely. After airing highly censored in India for less than a year, it was taken off the air without notice for generally offensive content. Russia also banned the show, which is known for speaking its mind about anything and everything, in place of more “patriotic” content that “reflects the state position” in 2008. Well, at least Butters’ dad was around to give Putin a good grounding.




#2: “Family Guy” (1999-2003; 2005-)


Similar to “South Park,” “Family Guy” is a show that has never shied away from content that may be considered controversial or obscene. Many on the internet would have you believe that there is a vast array of countries that have banned the antics of the Griffin family, though many of these bans aren’t true. That being said, the show has certainly been banned in at least Egypt, Iran and Vietnam. Although no reason was given, any fan could likely point to nearly any episode to find a handful of things that might be considered objectionable to some.


#1: “The Simpsons” (1989-)


They may be the first family of television, but the sensibilities of Springfield aren’t quite as appreciated in other countries. Venezuela scrapped the series entirely in 2008, deeming it a potentially bad influence on children. This is somewhat surprising, since it was at its most controversial when it first aired in 1989, and compared to other shows – even ones we've already discussed – is rather tame. Still, the controversy surrounding Bart’s bad behavior has managed to endure for all these years, which is appropriate for prime time’s longest running scripted show... but not for Venezuela.



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