The United States of America 🇺🇸 is a partially North American country (except for Hawaii) which primarily worships Christianity as a common religion and primarily uses their own dialect of English along with Hispanic American Spanish. However, it has no official state religion law or official language as a whole.

General censorship[]

The U.S. is home of some of the world's most stringent free speech protections thanks to The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; as such, the government basically can't ban anything on the basis of its content, (except for child pornography, and even then it's defined narrowly as being live-action porn with an underage actor. The PROTECT act of 2003 effectively banned some forms of simulated child pornography, but that section was struck down. The rationale here is that since underage actors necessarily cannot consent to being in a porn film, they are by definition exploited, and such works do not merit First Amendment protection). Nevertheless, the U.S. is still home to many "banned" works because of the influence of lobby groups on distributors and the Federal Communications Commission. A select few works are banned from commercial distribution because they contain multiple copyright violations.

This means that in spite of these protections, it is entirely possible for stores, theaters, and libraries to all refuse to sell or distribute a given work; a copyright holder might just choose not to bother and not release the work. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) technically "owns" the radio and TV airwaves and has a big say in what can be displayed on those channels. Its criteria for doing so are not made public, and it decides these things on a quasi-judicial basis — i.e. it has precedents and relies on those to make decisions. This setup means that the only way to know what the FCC doesn't like is to break its rules. Most networks will self-censor to avoid bans, viewer complaints, and possible FCC fines.

Historically, there were even more avenues to ban or restrict content, such as the Hays Code and the Comics Code. These were self-censorship bodies, though, and as more and more works started to push the limits of what was acceptable, such bodies have gone by the wayside.

  • Most of the pornographic works featuring Traci Lords are considered child pornography since they had been filmed while she was under 18. Lords had lied about her age when they were filmed. This led to two things: first, being in a way related to an important Supreme Court case regarding the First Amendment, and second, because one of those works was an issue of Penthouse magazine which was already infamous for a nude pictorial which resulted in Miss America winner Vanessa Williams being stripped of her title.
  • As pointed out by the late George Carlin during his The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television monologue, due to FCC guidelines, there are seven words which cannot be said in TV and in radio, which are "shit", "piss", "fuck", "cunt", "cocksucker", "motherfucker", and "tits". However, these guidelines do not apply to non-broadcast media such as cable television, satellite TV, or satellite radio, which have more lenient guidelines.
  • Boston was once known to be a bulwark of "moral crusaders", given the Puritan and Catholic influene in the city, as well a local "benevolent group" called Watch and Ward Society had the final say over what could be sold and displayed there or not. Paradoxically, something banned in Boston would make a work more marketable elsewhere. However, the city lost said puritanical reputation in the 1970s.

Book censorship[]

A number of books were banned in the city of Boston between the mid-1800s and the mid-1900s. Naked Lunch was the last major work to get its ban removed.

  • Decameron - this work by Giovanni Boccaccio was banned from US mail under the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act (Comstock Law) of 1873, which banned the sending or receiving of works containing "obscene", "filthy", or "inappropriate" material.
  • The Canterbury Tales - this work by Geoffrey Chaucer was banned from US mail under the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act (Comstock Law) of 1873, which banned the sending or receiving of works containing "obscene", "filthy", or "inappropriate" material. U.S. obscenity laws were overturned in 1959 by the Supreme Court in Kingsley Pictures Corp. v. Regents.
  • The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption - this religous critique book written by William Pynchon, a prominent leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who founded the City of Springfield, Massachusetts in 1636, wrote this published in London in 1650, which explicitly criticises Puritanism, was the first book banned in the New World. In 1650, several copies made their way back to the New World. Pynchon, who resided in Springfield, was unaware that his book suffered the New World's first book burning, on the Boston Common. Accused of heresy by the Massachusetts General Court, Pynchon quietly transferred ownership of the Connecticut River Valley's largest land-holdings to his son, and then suffered indignities as he left the New World for England. It was also the first work banned in Boston
  • Moll Flanders - this novel by Daniel Defoe was banned from US mail under the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act (Comstock Law) of 1873, which banned the sending or receiving of works containing "obscene", "filthy", or "inappropriate" material. U.S. obscenity laws were overturned in 1959 by the Supreme Court in Kingsley Pictures Corp. v. Regents.
  • Fanny Hill - this erotic novel by John Cleland was banned in the US in 1821 for obscenity, then again in 1963. This was the last book ever banned by the US government. U.S. obscenity laws were overturned in 1959 by the Supreme Court in Kingsley Pictures Corp. v. Regents. However other books have been banned since by court orders.
  • Candide - this novel by Voltaire was seized by US Customs in 1930 for obscenity. U.S. obscenity laws were overturned in 1959 by the Supreme Court in Kingsley Pictures Corp. v. Regents.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin - this novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe was banned in the Confederate States for its anti-slavery message.
  • Elmer Gantry - this novel by Sinclair Lewis was banned in Boston, Massachusetts, Kansas City, Missouri, Camden, New Jersey, and other US cities, this novel by Sinclair focused on religiosity and hypocrisy in the United States during the 1920s by depicting a preacher (the Reverend Dr. Elmer Gantry) as a protagonist who preferred easy money, alcohol, and "enticing young girls" to saving souls, while converting a traveling tent revival crusade into a profitable and permanent evangelical church and radio empire for his employers. Elmer Gantry also widely denounced from pulpits across the United States at the time of its initial publication. U.S. obscenity laws were overturned in 1959 by the Supreme Court in Kingsley Pictures Corp. v. Regents.
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover - this novel by D. H. Lawrence was temporarily banned in the United States for violation of obscenity laws. The ban was lifted in 1959.
  • Tropic of Cancer - this novel by Henry Miller was banned in the US in the 1930s until the early 1960s, seized by US Customs for sexually explicit content and vulgarity. The rest of Miller's work was also banned by the US.
  • The Grapes of Wrath - this novel by John Steinbeck was temporarily banned in many places in the US. In the state of California in which it was partially set, it was banned for its alleged unflattering portrayal of residents of the area.
  • Forever Amber - this novel by Kathleen Winsor was banned in fourteen states in the US. However, the ban was lifted by an appeals court judge.
  • Memoirs of Hecate County - this novel by Edmund Wilson was banned in the state of New York by the Supreme Court.
  • Howl - this novel by Allen Ginsberg had its copies of the first edition seized by San Francisco Customs for obscenity in March 1957; after trial, obscenity charges were dismissed.
  • Naked Lunch - this novel written by William S. Burroughs was banned by Boston courts in 1962 for obscenity, but that decision was reversed in 1966 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed - this book by Paulo Freire was banned in Tucson, Arizona.
  • United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense - US President Richard Nison attempted to suspend publication of classified information, with this government study by Robert McNamara and the Department of Defense, known also as the Pentagon Papers being one of these. The restraint was however lifted by the US Supreme Court in a 6–3 decision. See also New York Times Co. v. United States.
  • The Federal Mafia - this book by Irwin Schiff was target of an injunction was issued by a US District Court in Nevada under 26 U.S.C. § 7408 against its author and associates Cynthia Neun and Lawrence Cohen against the sale of this book by those persons as the court found that the information it contains is fraudulent.
  • 60 Years Later: Coming through the Rye - this unauthorized sequel to J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye by John David California had its publication, advertising or distribution in the United States banned due to a court injunction by Salinger, though it has been published in other countries.
  • Operation Dark Heart - this memoir by Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer had the Army's January approval for its publication overridden by the Department of Defense in September 2010. The DoD then purchased and destroyed all 9,500 first edition copies, citing concerns that it contained classified information which could damage national security. The publisher, St. Martin's Press, in conjunction with the DoD created a second, redacted edition; which contains blacked out words, lines, paragraphs, and portions of the index. This book is as of currently out of press.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events - its author, Daniel Handler, was hoping this book was banned and was disappointed in how little it happened. One of his real "victories" was that the books were banned from a school in Georgia due to Olaf's plan to marry his distant relative Violet in book one, to which he responded "I'm at a loss as to how to write a villain who doesn't do villainous things."
  • Ulysses - this famous novel written by James Joyce was banned from 1921 to 1933 as one of its chapters contained a passage about a character masturbating. Like the rest of the book, the passage was written as a stream of consciousness and thus rather oblique. However, people thought it was the product of a diseased mind. In 1933, the Supreme Court ruled in the United States v. One Book Called Ulysses case that sexual content in literature is fine as long as it does not promote sexual activity. However, Judge John M. Woolsey's opinion regarding how absurd is censorship (which not many people agreed with at the time) is very well-known.
  • Blood and Chocolate - this book was banned from a few high schools in the US, mainly in Texas, mostly due to the sexual content. Annette Curtis Klause even had one mother call her to try and have the book removed from her daughter's school library. Klause recalled finding it strange that what the mother most objected to wasn't the graphic violence present in the story, but teens talking about and engaging in sexual behavior, even if the sexual content is pretty PG-13 and there isn't actually any sex scenes in the book.
  • America (The Book) - this book was banned from Wal-Mart for containing cut-out paper dolls of naked Supreme Court Justices. The reader was encouraged to cut out their robes and restore their dignity.
  • Naked Pictures Of Famous People - this book, which was the first written by Jon Stewart, was criticized for having naked Abraham Lincoln on the front. As a result, some later editions of the book have text-only covers.
  • The Turner Diaries - this book had its digital and physical copies pulled from Amazon after the 2021 Capitol attack.
  • Earth's Children - Many of the books of this series have been banned from in a few of American states, including Texas, due to its explicit sexual content and its depiction of unconventional sexual practices, as well as its depiction of a goddess-worshipping prehistoric society living alongside Neanderthals along with other mentions of evolution, and scenes of rape involving a prepubescent child in The Clan of the Cave Bear. The series was collectively listed as the 19th most challenged book in the USA between 1990 and 1999 by the American Library Association.
  • The House of the Night - This young adult vampire series of books was banned in a few schools in Texas due to sexual content and nudity involving teens; one junior high school went as far as banning even books in the series that hadn't yet been ''written or published''.

Comics censorship[]

In 1954, German-American psychiatrist Frederic Wertham published a book called The Seduction of the Innocent, which was about his observations on how comic books were corrupting the youth at the time, causing them to become delinquents, which he backed up with many "anedoctes" (later scholars, however, cast doubts on his observations). This, alongside with several comic book hearings at that same year, led to the creation of the Comics Code Authority, which sanitized American comics to an absurd extent, so much that questioning authority and scary creatures were banned, and drugs and disabled people could not even be mentioned. This got to the point where a Spider-Man comic strip based around Harry Osborn overdosing had to be published without CCA approval, although it dealt entirely with the negative effects of drugs, and had been requested by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This event is often pointed to as the beginning of the CCA downfall. Many drastic standard-changes came along, but it was already apparent that the CCA was not necessary for a comic to hit shelves. In January 2011, DC Comics and Archie Comics, the last two publishers participating in the CCA, withdrew from the Code.

  • The Second Coming - this a religious satirical comic about Jesus Christ coming back in a superhero universe was cancelled by Vertigo Comics at the last minute due to protests by censorious Christian groups, but the creators announced that Vertigo returned the rights and they still intended to publish it through a different company. It eventually was published by Ahoy Comics.
  • Gender Queer: A Memoir - this comic has been banned in different school districts of Florida and Virginia, while South Carolina governor Henry McMaster has urged the state Department of Education to do the same for having sexual and LGBT content. This is one part of a trend in banning LGBT books or other material from the public schools in more right-wing US states.
  • Batgirl - According to its writer Gail Simone, she had to rewrite an issue of the comic, where a Latino youth being brutalized by bigoted security officers due to it being similar to the death of Trayvon Martin.
  • Black Panther - For a brief period in the 1970s, in this comic, the titular hero was renamed as "Black Leopard" in order to avoid being associated with the Black Panthers, an African-American revolutionary organization.
  • The Man of Steel - this 1986 updated retelling of Superman's origins, which would have his first public appearance saving a space shuttle from a crash had the vessel changed to an "experimental space-plane" due to the Challenger disaster occurring at the same time the miniseries was being produced.
  • Hellblazer - one issue featuring a story entitled Shoot (written by Warren Ellis) did not saw release due to its resemblance to the Columbine shootings - it would come out only weeks after the shootings occurred. The issue was still in the works for several months and the timing was coincidental. The issue finally saw release as a standalone story in 2010.
  • Preacher - The cover of the Issue #52 was originally intended to depict an 8-year-old Tulip O'Hare getting a handgun as a Christmas present. However, after the Columbine High School shooting, it was changed to a standard facial shot of an adult Tulip.
  • Trinity - this comic was originally intended to have a three-issue arc entitled "Divided We Fall", which would have Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman defending a racist hate speaker from angry rioters. However, said issues were cancelled by DC due to the increasingly volatile political climate in the US after the election of Donald Trump, including at least one incident bearing superficial similarities to the riot in the story.
  • Venom (Donny Cates) - During its Free Comic Book Day special in 2020, this comic was meant to introduce a new symbiote character named Virus. Many people liked the design and noted the simple-yet-cool name which was overlooked, given the stranger names other symbiot characters had. However, Coronavirus, which already was an issue when the character was unveiled, became a much bigger issue, which led the delay of said FCBD issue due to the cancellation of FCBD 2020.

Manga censorship[]

  • The Beautiful Skies of Houou High - this shojo manga about a lesbian girl being fooled by her mother to being sent to an all-boys school had its release by its publisher, Digital Manga Publishing, due to the rising amount of LGBT bullying and suicides during this manga's release time.
  • One of the two works cited by Matt Shaheen as pornographic was Goblin Slayer when he justified his efforts to lead a book ban in Texas schools.

Internet censorship[]

  • Under the Children's Internet Protection Act of 2000, all schools and public libraries are required to install filters on their computers in order to receive certain federal funds. This law been challenged by the American Library Association, which has a general policy of frowning on anything that restricts free access to information, but it was upheld by the Supreme Court.
  • Surprisingly, in June 2023, Pornhub blocked its access in Virginia, as a protest against the age verification law that was put in the state.
  • Beginning in May 2023, the state of Montana blocked TikTok on all personal devices in the state. However, the ban will be in effect on January 2024.

Movie censorship[]


Initially, the USA used to have no censorship of films at all. Later, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1918 ruled that states could impose censorship on films in Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, 236 U.S. 230, due to motion pictures not having First Amendment protection. A number of states and cities implemented censorship boards; if a film was rejected by the board it could not be shown in theaters in the area where the board has jurisdiction.

Between July 1, 1934 and November 1, 1968, the film industry was regulated by the Motion Picture Production Code (also known as the "Hays Code", named after its ideator, Will H. Hays, who was the president of the MPPDA between 1922 and 1945), which restricted certain sorts of contents present in movies. The code was created in order to minimize the effect of the local censorship boards and prevent the United States government from instituting national censorship (which could be a very real possibility given the pressure of lobby groups such as the Legion of Decency).

In spite of this, the obvious exigences of World War II prompted the federal government to set up an Office of Censorship anyway. In cooperation with the Office of War Information's Bureau of Motion Pictures, the federal government exerted a powerful, yet allegedly voluntary, influence over Hollywood until September 1945, when the offices were dissolved.

The state and city censorship boards began to disappear starting in 1952, when the U.S. Supreme Court reverted itself in the forementioned Mutual Film case, when it was ruloed in Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, 343 U.S. 495, that motion pictures did had First Amendment protection. Said censorship bodies started to lose power in 1965, when the Supreme Court decided in Freedman v. Maryland, 380 U.S. 51, that a censorship board cannot ban a film outright anymore. When a censorship board received a film for review, it had to do so promptly to then either issue approval of the film or file suit in a court against the distributor to stop the exhibition of a film. Moreover, since the censorship board was suing in court, the board by then had the burden of proof to argue a film was unsuitable for licensing rather than the distributor having to prove the film was acceptable. When television came further, censorship boards were made irrelevant as a city or state board has no jurisdiction on a motion picture broadcast on a television station because they are federally licensed.

Movie censorship died out for good in the US with the election of Jack Valenti as president of the Motion Picture Association of America in 1966. He promised to end the Production Code to replace it with a system intended to tell parents what material was suitable for their children; by 1968, he accomplished that goal. Most jurisdictions dropped their censorship boards, mostly as a money-saving measure. The City of Dallas, Texas' board more or less closed down when the city stopped providing funding for the board to publish the list of films approved each week in the newspaper. In 1980, the state of Maryland became the final state to eliminate its censorship board. The only restrictions on films now are what the producers are willing to accept to get a particular rating from the MPAA.

There is no official government group that censors movie, but multiple TV stations do censor movies to align with network standards, and some movies are censored in order to get certain MPA ratings.


In the United States, movies are rated by Motion Picture Association (MPA), formerly known as Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which is a trade association representing the five major studios in the US, alongside Netflix. Said association devised a voluntary film rated system in 1968, which replaced the Hays Code and is managed by the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA). The MPA also has the goals of promoting effective copyright protection, reduction of piracy and expansion of market access.

The MPA film ratings are as follows:

  • G - General Audiences (green): All ages admitted. Nothing that would offend parents for viewing by children.
  • PG - Parental Guidance Suggested (orange): Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give "parental guidance." May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.
  • PG-13 - Parents Strongly Cautioned (purple): Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.
  • R - Restricted (red): Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
  • NC-17 - Adults Only (blue) - No one 17 and under admitted. Clearly adult. Children are not admitted.

If a film has not been submitted for a rating or is an uncut version of a submitted film, the labels Not Rated (NR) or Unrated (UR) are often used. Uncut and/or extended versions of films that are labeled "Unrated" also contain warnings which say that the uncut version of the film contains content differing from the theatrical release and can not be suitable for minors.

If a film has not been assigned a final rating, the label This Film Is Not Yet Rated is used in trailers and television commercials.

In 2013, the MPA ratings were visually redesigned, with the rating displayed on a left panel and the name of the rating shown above it. A larger panel on the right provides a more detailed description of the film's content and an explanation of the rating level is placed on a horizontal bar at the bottom of the rating.

Film ratings often have accompanying brief descriptions of the specifics behind the film's content and why it received a certain rating. They are displayed in trailers, posters, and on the backside of home video releases. Film rating content descriptors are exclusively used for films rated from PG to NC-17; they are not used for G-rated films because the content in them is suitable for all audiences even if containing mild objectionable content.

National Legion of Decency[]

The National Legion of Decency or Catholic Legion of Decency, was a group founded in 1934 founded by John T. McNicholas, the Archbishop of Cincinnati, to identify objectionable content in films on behalf of Catholic audiences. Members were asked to pledge to be patrons only of those motion pictures which did not "offend decency and Christian morality". It had its own rating system, which was non-binding, but many Catholics were still guided by the Legion's ratings. It was disestablished in 1990.

  • A: Morally unobjectionable
    • A-I: for general patronage
    • A-II: for adults and adolescents only
    • A-III: for adults only
    • A-IV: for adults with reservations
  • B: Morally objectionable
  • C: Condemned

Legal censorship[]

  • The Birth of a Nation - this film was banned in several American cities for its racist content and portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan, including Chicago, Las Vegas, Denver, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, and the states of Ohio, Kansas, and West Virginia, as well as "dozens" of other jurisdictions. Unbanned in 1916 outside of Kansas.
  • Purity - this silent drama film was banned in the state of Kansas, and several other cities across America including Dallas, Kansas City, Jackson (MS) and Washington, D.C. among others due to the use of nudity.
  • Birth Control - this documentary film, which today is considered lost media, produced by and starring Margaret Sanger, was banned, with the New York Court of Appeals holding that a film on family planning work may be censored "in the interest of morality, decency, and public safety and welfare".
  • Häxan - this silent horror essay film was banned until 1929 due to the use of torture and nudity. Its themes of witchcraft and Satanism may also have had an effect.
  • Babe Comes Home - this silent sports comedy film was briefly banned in portions of the Chicago Metropolitan Area due to scenes of Babe Ruth chewing tobacco and spitting in the film. Mrs. Albert L. Stevenson, a film censor member, later recommended that "the censors do not believe that there is an inherent virtue in chewing tobacco and don't wish the children in Highland Park to believe that one must chew to achieve fame." The ban was later lifted.
  • Party Girl - this pre-Code crime film, although it was passed for theatrical screening, several cities banned it due to its depiction of prostitution, namely Birmingham, Alabama.
  • No Limit - this pre-Code comedy film was banned in Riverside, California by the city's censor boards due to "notoriety."
  • Scarface (1932) - this gangster film was banned in five states and five other cities due to "glorification of crime."
  • Ecstasy - this Czech erotic romantic drama film was banned in the US from 1933 to 1937 due to its erotic content.
  • G Men - this crime film, which was one of the top-grossing films of 1935 in Chicago, was banned by the State of Illinois Board of Censors due to warning signs depicting the trapping of John Dillinger made precautions that might've become "too excited" for children
  • Spain in Flames - this compilation film/newsreel was banned in a few states including Ohio and Pennsylvania, and multiple cities across the country including New Brunswick, New Jersey, Waterbury, Connecticut, and Provincetown, Massachusetts, due to the film's plot being reported as "harmful and tortured."
  • The Birth of a Baby - this educational film about childbearing was banned in New York City by the state's Motion Picture Censors, and in Cincinnati, Ohio by the city's manager Clarence Sherrill due to the film being reported as "non-educational" and as it lacked certification by the state's Board of Motion Pictures Censors. The Cincinnati Police Department's chief Eugene T. Weatherly later viewed the film and said that "there is no display on the screen of the customary certificate of approval by the state censors."
  • The Ramparts We Watch - this March Of Time documentary was briefly banned all across Pennsylvania due to portions of the film termed as "part of the fear propaganda being disseminated by Germany", which demonstrates scenes on the German invasion of Poland and clips from the German film "Baptism of Fire".
  • Two-Faced Woman - this romantic comedy film starring Greta Garbo was banned in New York City, among other places, due its plot theme being adultery.
  • Ossessione - this Italian film was banned for 33 years because the plot was based on James M. Cain's novel The Postman Always Rings Twice to which MGM owned the rights. It took until 1976 before copyright issues were resolved.
  • Brewster's Millions - this comedy film was banned in Memphis, Tennessee, because Brewster's African-American servant was treated too well.
  • Scarlet Street - this film noir was entirely banned on January 4, 1946 by the New York State Censor Board, relying on the statute that gave it power to censor films that were "obscene, indecent, immoral, inhuman, sacrilegious" or whose exhibition "would tend to corrupt morals or incite to crime." As if in a chain reaction, one week later the Motion Picture Commission for the city of Milwaukee also banned the film as part of a new policy encouraged by police for "stricter regulation of undesirable films." On February 3 Christina Smith, the city censor of Atlanta, argued that because of "the sordid life it portrayed, the treatment of illicit love, the failure of the characters to receive orthodox punishment from the police, and because the picture would tend to weaken a respect for the law," Scarlet Street was "licentious, profane, obscure and contrary to the good order of the community." ... Universal was discouraged from challenging the constitutionality of the censors by the protests of the national religious groups that arose as the Atlanta case went to court.
  • Bicycle Thieves - this Italian prize-winning film set in the post-war Rome was banned all over the United States by MPAA in March 1950 due to the use of urination from a little boy, and disturbing culture including scenes from inside of a bordello.
  • The Miracle - the second part of this Italian film, "L'Amore" (or "Love" in English) was banned all over the United States, as it was condemned by the National Legion of Decency, which termed the part as "anti-Catholic" and "sacrilegious." Shortly afterward in the middle of February 1951, the state of New York revoked the license to show the film from the state's Board of Regents. The ban led to the law's Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson which led it to a decision by Supreme Court in 1952 that the film was a form of artistic expression and was protected by the First Amendment.
  • Lost Boundaries - this film about Dr. Albert C. Johnson and his family passing as white while living in New England, was banned in Atlanta and Memphis as it was deemed liable to "create dissension and strife between members of the white and colored races, and would be likely to cause disorders, disturbances, and clashes between the races."
  • Bitter Rice - this Italian film was banned by the state of New York censors exactly 11 months after the ban of Bicycle Thieves and The Miracle, due to police crackdowns and bitter Catholic oppositions. This was the third Italian film to be banned by the state.
  • Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye - this film noir was banned in Ohio as "a sordid, sadistic presentation of brutality and an extreme presentation of crime with explicit steps in commission.
  • The Moon is Blue - this film was was the first mainstream film since the enactment of The Hays Code to use the words "virgin," "seduce," "mistress" (in a sexual context), and "pregnant," which were forbidden under the Code. However, it was less the language and more the characters' casual attitude toward sexual topics which roused the ire of Boston censors, which made it banned there.
  • The Vanishing Prairie - this Walt Disney documentary was banned in New York on August 10, 1954 due to a clip where it demonstrated a buffalo giving birth. The ban was lifted after a complaint by the American Civil Liberties Union.
  • The Bamboo Prison - this Korean War drama film was banned in Memphis due to its "inimical" content.
  • The Man with the Golden Arm - this drama noir film was banned by the MPAA due to the film's plot dealing with drug addictions and containing its presentation as "illegal drug trafficking."
  • Baby Doll - this black comedy film was banned in Memphis, Nashville, and Atlanta due to the film plot's culture, which a member of the Memphis Board determines the film as "immoral." It was the first picture to be banned after the death of censor chief Lloyd Binford. The film would later demonstrate in Nashville (via the Tennessee Theatre) in January 1957.
  • Portland Exposé - this noir film was banned regionally in 1957 by local agencies in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Portland, Oregon—its setting—due to its depiction of crimes inspired by those committed by crime boss Jim Elkins.
  • The Immoral Mr. Teas - this nudist comedy film was banned in Baltimore (along with two other films) for a 12-month hiatus by Maryland's State Of Board Censors on November 8, 1962 due to its content (nudity).
  • Victim - this 1961 neo-noir suspense film was banned in many American cities due to language.
  • John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! - this Notre Dame-based comedy film (along with the book that was distributed by) was banned in New York by judge due to the main characters depicted as "drunken party boys" before the film premiered around Christmas 1964 in selected 200+ theaters. Supreme Court Justice Henry Clay Greenburg called the situation "ugly, vulgar, and tawdry."
  • Flaming Creatures - this experimental film was banned in New York City in 1964 because of sexual content.
  • Promises! Promises! - this 1963 sex comedy film banned in Cleveland by the Cleveland Division Of Police, Pittsburgh by the Pittsburgh Police, and several other cities due to explicit nude scenes, though later the Cleveland court decided the nude scenes in the film were not lewd after all. The ban took place a few weeks prior to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
  • My Bare Lady - this 1963 64-minute British exploitation film (along with one other exploitation film) was banned in Pittsburgh by the Pittsburgh Police due to its content shortly days after Pittsburgh's ban on Promises! Promises! The ban comes before the arrest of two Cameraphone Theatre (East Liberty) owners after complaints from showing the film three days prior to Kennedy's assassination.
  • Viva Maria! - this adventure comedy film starring Brigitte Bardot was banned in Dallas between 1966 and 1968 for sexual and anti-Catholic content, prior to the United States Supreme Court striking down the ban and limiting the ability of municipalities to ban films for adults in Interstate Circuit, Inc. v. City of Dallas.
  • Titicut Follies - this 1967 documentary about a mental ward, was banned from public release for several decades. Officially, the state of Massachusetts thought the film infringed on the privacy of the patients in the film; but, the real problem was that it showed how the state of Massachusetts treated the mentally ill in its care (enough to say, not well). It remains one of the most embarrassing moments for free speech in the US, but weirdly, the ban had a positive effect; the state of Massachusetts was forced to acknowledge people had a right to privacy on the state level. The ban was lifted in 1991 by the state due to the supposed privacy concerns becoming less important as most of the inmates featured in the film passed away in the intervening years, although it ordered that a disclaimer explaining that conditions had improved at the mental ward since 1967 be added.
  • I Am Curious (Yellow) - this film was banned in 1967 as "pornography." After three court cases, the ban was lifted when the anti-obscenity laws concerning films was overturned.
  • Pink Flamingos - this John Waters film was banned in Orange County, Florida for 25 years, courtesy of a broad obscenity sting which banned it among other films, because of explicit sexual content, animal cruelty, and depiction of its lead character, Divine, eating dog feces in the end.
  • The Thorn - this film was closed days after opening in New York City for misleading marketing exploiting the fame of one of its co-stars, Bette Midler. It was blocked from opening on re-release in 1980. The film was briefly distributed on home video under a new title before Midler threatened legal action.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian - this biblical comedy film was banned in several towns for showing controversial themes about Christianity.
  • Many films made before the Hays Code films were banned by the Catholic Legion of Decency and the Motion Picture Association of America between 1934 and 1968, including the first film adaptation of The Maltese Falcon. The ban on these was lifted only after the ratings system supported by then-MPAA leader Jack Valenti came into place, though it would be years before they ever got released Stateside again, mainly due to practicality issues.
  • Show Boat - Its 1936 version was banned for many years after star Paul Robeson landed on Red Channels and was issued a travel ban.
  • Under Idaho state law, establishments licensed to serve alcohol are prohibited from showing "acts or simulated acts of sexual intercourse" or "any person being touched, caressed or fondled" in their nether region. This law is ostensibly meant to prohibit alcohol at strip clubs, but authorities have threatened that they would enforce this law against cinemas serving alcohol if they receive complaints surrounding films containing such content, with even some R-rated films falling under this restriction. In January 2016, a theater was threatened with its liquor license being revoked for daring to let undercover investigators drink before watching Fifty Shades of Grey, so it decided to challenge the law under the First Amendment. Among other things, it was pointed out that despite the existence of other R-rated films containing sex scenes, the only other film they seemed cracking down on was The Wolf of Wall Street. This, along with cinema chains refusing to screen NC-17 films at all, prevented Blue Is the Warmest Color from being screened almost anywhere in Boise, Idaho.
  • Utah had a very similar law, among its many interesting alcohol-related laws (such as one requiring alcoholic beverages at restaurants to be prepared out of sight, and only given to patrons with an "intent to dine"). This is not surprising, as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (which prohibits alcohol consumption by its members) has a high degree of influence in the state. A cinema that received similar threats to the Idaho theater after screening Deadpool also decided to fight the law, and won, striking it down as unconstitutional. The film's star Ryan Reynolds was a major backer of their crowdfunded legal action.
  • Until the early 1960s, most films in which white and black Americans shared screen time, or in which one black actor was seen, were subject to censorship in the Southern states (where the Jim Crow laws were still in force at the time). They were usually shown uncut in the rest of the country. Notable examples are:
    • The Little Colonel, which had cut the scene where Shirley Temple dances in the stairs with her black butler, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.
    • Stormy Weather, whose scene of Lena Horne singing the song Stormy Weather was cut from screenings in the South.
    • Sun Valley Serenade and Orchestra Wives featured a song and dance routine by the Nicholas Brothers (with Dorothy Dandridge joining them in the former), which were set up in order to be easily cut out of the films without affecting the continuity.
  • If You Love This Planet - this 1982 documentary short film made by the National Film Board of Canada about a lecture given at SUNY Plattsburgh by Australian anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott, was formally declared to be "foreign political propaganda" by the Reagan administration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The US government tried to ban the distribution of the film, requiring all venues to show the film to file paperwork with the Department of Justice. All the notoriety helped to make the film more popular, going on to win the 1982 Oscar for Best Documentary (Short Subject), with the director thanking the US government for the free advertising in her acceptance speech.
  • The Last Temptation of Christ - this Martin Scorsese film was banned in Savannah, Georgia when city leaders sent a petition to Universal Pictures requesting a ban. However, it opened in Savannah on September 23, 1988, six weeks after national and worldwide debut.
  • The Tin Drum - this movie was banned in 1997 for a briefly in Oklahoma County due to being deemed as obscene (as a scene depicted a child embracing a naked woman), which only increased interest in the film until the ban was lifted through an injunction.
  • The Profit - This film that borrows elements of the life of L. Ron Hubbard, it was prevented from release when the Church of Scientology claimed the film could taint the jury pool in the wrongful death trial of former member Lisa McPherson. While the injunction has since been lifted a few years after the suit was settled and the film is no longer banned per se, a legal dispute with investor Robert S. Minton continues to hold up the release. The Disinformation Book of Lists and The Times have characterized The Profit as a "banned film" in the United States.
  • Hillary: The Movie - this political documentary about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, it was prevented by the Federal Election Commission from being aired on video-on-demand on cable TV shortly before the 2008 Democratic primaries as an "electioneering communication" mentioning a candidate within 30 days of a primary, an apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (aka "McCain-Feingold"). The ban and much of the BCRA was then overturned by the Supreme Court in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
  • Showgirls had black bras and panties added to cover the female character's breasts and genitalia during its TV broadcasts, due to the large amounts of nudity present in the uncut film.
  • missing. - this 1982 film and the book on which it was based went missing in the United States for a couple of decades due to a libel lawsuit over the portrayal of the State Department.
  • Ingagi - this pre-Code mockumentary had its distribution suppressed by the Federal Trade Commission due to the misrepresentation of its subject matter. As a matter of fact, it was so greatly infamous that it didn't was released on home video until 2021.
  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer - despite receiving glowing praise from critics such as Roger Ebert, this film could not find a distributor in the US due to the MPAA rating giving it an "X" rating (which severely limited the theaters it could be shown in), announcing that it was not possible for it to be cut down to an R. This, alongside the controversies with The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! played a significant role in the MPAA replacing the "X" rating with the "NC-17" rating.

Self censorship[]

  • The Adventures of Mark Twain had its segment based on The Mysterious Stranger has garnered a reputation as a cartoon purportedly banned from TV. As it turns out, many networks that aired the movie simply chose to cut that scene out because they deemed it too creepy for young audiences (similar to what some networks did with the tunnel scene in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory).
  • Song of the South - the film has not been re-released in any form in the U.S. since 1986. Bob Iger stated in 2011 that this film would not receive future distribution in the United States to avoid controversy. In March 2020, Iger told people at a shareholders event that the film would never get a release on Disney+, not even with an added disclaimer at the beginning, as long as he was in charge.
  • The Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland has the reputation of being banned, as American Greetings allegedly refused to allow a Region 1 DVD release over the bad reception of this and the previous film. It did not help that even Nelvana co-founder Michael Hirsh admitted after its release that "It was just one sequel too many."
  • Mission to Moscow - Until the 1970s, this film was refused release for television broadcast by United Artists due to of its sympathetic depiction of the USSR (for context, the film was made during World War II, when relations between the US and USSR were much warmer).
  • Battle Royale - this Japanese movie series, due to its status of not being released outside Japan, was rumored to be banned in the United States due to the Columbine massacre. While it is not officially banned (as America does not have a censorship board capable of banning films[1]), the original novel and the manga adaptation were both translated and published stateside, squeamishness over the film's subject matter did cause many American distributors to back off from it, fearing a backlash. Reportedly, when Toei screened the film in 2005 for the lawyers of a prospective American distributor, they were warned that they would be jailed for releasing it, creating a series of conditions to dissuade potential distributors and avoid any headaches from American lobby groups (the film was already been controversial enough in its native Japan, with its lack of school shootings due to its years-old gun control laws). An American remake of the film was briefly discussed, but fell into development hell after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. In 2012, when the success of The Hunger Games demonstrated that one could sell a story about teenagers murdering each other following the aftermath of Columbine, Anchor Bay Entertainment got Toei to soften its stance by giving the film an American release.
  • Between 2001 and 2004, ABC broadcasted Saving Private Ryan nearly uncut on Veterans Day with a TV-MA rating. However, in 2004, in the wake of Janet Jackson's Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction incident and the FCC's shifting stance towards indecent content on broadcast TV, 65 individual ABC affiliates refused to air the film, fearing that the FCC could fine them over its content. Although ABC offered to cover any fines issued to affiliates on their behalf, the FCC ultimately received no complaints. The lobby groups praised ABC's decision to continue airing Saving Private Ryan, because after all, it is a patriotic film. In other words, ABC has never aired the film since and future airings have been relegated to cable where standards are more lenient compared to broadcast TV.
  • Friday the 13th - this film caused a furor leading the MPAA to be more aggressive with its X rating, which tantamounted to a ban, as not many theaters wanted to show them and not many stores wanted to carry them. Said rating was also stigmatised for being only for porn films.
    • Said furor is the only reason why Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, which has minor nudity and a few scenes of violence and/or genuine menace, got an R rating in 1984, after it had carried a PG rating for 15 years; currently, the film would probably be rated PG-13 if resubmitted.) As a response, the NC-17 rating was introduced, but it didn't do much to slow the alleged "chilling effect" on such movies.

Television censorship[]


Broadcast radio and television in the USA is caught in an odd conflict between the First Amendment (which guarantees free speech) and the government's desire to protect its citizens from unwanted material being broadcast into their home.

Federal Communications Commission[]

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) governs over-the-air broadcasting, licensing portions of the electromagnetic spectrum to each broadcaster (radio, television, etc.). The Supreme Court has built of a body of case law granting the FCC the authority to regulate content being broadcast over the licensed spectrum. The Court makes a distinction between indecent content; which enjoys free-speech protections, subject to FCC regulation and obscene content; which is not protected speech at all (the bar is pretty high to qualify as obscene, effectively limited to hardcore pornography).

The FCC historically had more concerns about sex and coarse language, such as the reaction to Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl and the large fine the FCC gave for a scene featuring naked buttocks in NYPD Blue. NYPD Blue also got in trouble for airing the word "shit", and the FCC often tries to fine for fleeting, unplanned uses of the word "fuck" at live events (even though, those have been getting overturned). Violence is only really a concern when it is present in video games and children's programming. The FCC's authority to regulate content is limited by the Court to broadcasts made "between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., local time. - when children are more likely to be in the audience". What is more, the FCC's regulation authority stems simply from their role in licensing the broadcast spectrum, thus, cable or satellite stations, or shows airing in the "safe harbor" period from the 10PM to 6AM, fall outside of its scope[2].

Parents Television Council[]

The Parents Television Council (PTC) is a conservative, nonpartisan group founded in 1995 that targeted large number of media since then Almost every single current primetime network series has been given the highest possible rating on their website. According to said group, if a show has any form of sexual content in it, it is automatically pornographic. The PTC is almost singlehandedly (with some help from the American Family Association) responsible for the recent tightening of "decency" regulations for broadcast TV in the wake of the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. They have been known to take special aim at anyone who shows what they consider insufficient respect to conservative Protestant Christianity, and are currently intensifying efforts to bring cable TV under the same kind of regulation as broadcast. The PTC has a strong lobby in Washington and has been known to use astroturfing methods in their campaigns to censor and suppress content of which they disapprove. The PTC's favorite targets for indecent content on TV: all three of Seth MacFarlane's cartoons (mainly, Family Guy). Buffy the Vampire Slayer was listed as part of their top ten worst, most offensive shows for, among other things, Buffy sacrificing herself to save the world was equated by PTC to suicide, something she should not have done even if it meant the entire universe being destroyed in torment.

Cable and satellite television[]

For cable and satellite providers, there is no legal authority which regulates the content aired. Instead, each network has its own standards and practices committee restricting what is allowed to air. This is mostly done for advertising and public relations purposes: while the FCC has no authority to fine, for example, Comedy Central for airing an uncensored roast, if enough viewers complain they would lose advertisers. Frequently, the network S&P boards enforce far stricter regulations than the FCC would if they had such authority; for instance, mocking religion or portraying it as the bad guy is not considered indecent, bur rather than creating a massive outcry from religious groups, most studios don't risk it.

Premium channels[]

Premium channels (such as HBO, Showtime, etc.) and pay-per-view- channels, which have neither broadcast regulators, nor advertisers to deal with, can basically get away with whatever they want, up to and including obscene content such as hardcore pornography (mostly on pay-per-view TV).

Instances of television censorship[]

(SC) = Self Censorship, (LC) = Legal Censorship, (SCC) = Special Case Censorship

  • All of Conan O'Brien's work for the NBC was withheld from distribution for nearly a decade by the network after a messy screwjob involving the hosting position for The Tonight Show. (SC)
  • Utah's NBC affiliate, KSL-TV, is owned by Bonneville International, a company controlled by the Mormon Church. As such, the station has a history of being run by censors who pull or pre-empt programs that offend their sensibilities (in most cases, the pre-empted shows were picked up by the local The CW affiliate). Coincidentally, most of the programs KSL has censored ended up being short-runners, but there are exceptions:
    • Picket Fences - the series was pulled in 1993 (back when KSL was affiliated to CBS) after an episode involving a Mormon who still believed in polygamy, despite the mainline Latter-day Saints church disavowed the concept in 1890. Polygamy is still a very controversial issue in the Mormon faith. It returned that fall, but was pre-empted to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday nights. (LC)
    • Coupling: KSL objected to the show's sexual content. This show was ultimately cancelled after four episodes due to poor reception. (SCC)
    • NBC's late-night poker programming was canceled following the U.S. government's indictment and shutdown of the online poker sites which sponsored them, due to the LDS Church being opposed to gambling; as such, there has never been any form of state-sanctioned gambling in Utah (including either lotteries or casinos). (LC)
    • The Playboy Club: this show was shunned by KSL, as the network did not want to associate itself with Playboy because they (along with other LDS-owned commercial media outlets) participate in an education campaign against porn addiction. It only lasted three episodes due to poor reviews and low viewership. As a result, NBC to dumped it in the hands of the local MyNetworkTV affiliate. (SC)
    • The New Normal: this show was banned by KSL as it featured two men in a relationship trying to care for a surrogate child and the Mormons, who own the affiliate, are against homosexuality. That said, there was some outcry over KSL's refusal to air it, with many accusing them of homophobia and signing a petition to get them to air it. It didn't last that long anyway. (SC)
    • Hannibal: This show was pulled after four episodes, "due to the extensive graphic nature of this show. Scott D. Pierce was not amused about this and he went as far as to compare KSL to Soviet propaganda newspaper Pravda. This one lasted for three seasons before getting being pulled, the longest of any KSL-censored primetime series. (LC)
    • Days of Our Lives: This show was punted to the middle of the night in 2011; some say that KSL objected to the show featuring a gay relationship involving the characters of Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis, who previously became the first gay couple in daytime television to wed onscreen. The reason for KSL putting it in on 1:05am, rather than punt it to their usual dumping ground for shows deemed objectionable by LDS beliefs is unknown. (SC)
    • Saturday Night Live was not aired by KSL when it switched to NBC, but only because it did not want to pre-empt its popular Saturday night sportscast. SNL began airing on KSL in 2013 after said sportscast was canceled. (SC)
  • Two other stations known for censoring network programming are WRAL, an NBC affiliate covering the Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina, and sister Fox station WRAZ. They're more or less run by ultra-religious zealots who are very hostile toward programming they consider to be "anti-family" (which is a side-effect of WRAZ's construction permit having been originally owned by Reverend James Layton, a Christian minster); when affiliated with CBS, they pre-empted one of the Victoria's Secret fashion show specials, and under NBC, also censoring the November 12, 2016 episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Dave Chappelle. (SC)
  • Reality shows like Temptation Island, Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire?, Married In America, Osbournes Reloaded, and Who's Your Daddy? were either heavily pre-empted or not aired at all on WRAZ. Most of these shows (aside from Temptation Island) were quickly canceled. (SC)
  • WNDU-TV, the NBC affiliate of South Bend, Indiana, formerly owned by the University of Notre Dame, also was known for pulling shows that offended their religious values, including the aforementioned Coupling and God, the Devil and Bob. Said affiliate has since been sold to a more conventional owner in Gray Television, which did not engage in such practices.
  • An episode of Once and Again was pulled from broadcast by WSET in Virginia due to containing a lesbian kiss, replacing it with an infomercial. The station provided no official explanation, but a few critics reacted to the decision. Similar to KSL's curse, Once and Again was cancelled literally a month after the lesbian kiss episode aired. (SC)
  • While in comparison the above-mentioned examples, back when the Norfolk, VA CW affiliate WGNT-TV 27 was known as WYAH under the ownership of Evangelical television preacher Pat Robertson, the station skipped at one point two episodes of Gilligan's Island reruns due to said episodes featuring plotlines related to ghosts and vampires. As expected from a station owned by a prominent television preacher, every rerun carried by said network had also any profanity used muted.
  • Suncoast Digest - This news program's reruns were temporarily pulled by Florida CBS affiliate station WXLT-TV after reporter Christine Chubbuck committed suicide by shooting herself during the taping of the program. At its place, Gentle Ben ran instead.
  • Masterpiece Theatre - the serial "Private Schulz" was banned for trying to make light of Nazi extermination camps. (However, the only other work to try that, Life Is Beautiful, is not banned at all.) (SCC)
  • Batman (1966) - The Hub refused to run two of this show storylines, the debut of Egghead in season 2 and Shame's return in season 3, as these relied on the jokes on stereotypes of Native Americans (which verged sometimes to their stereotype as savages). However, "Nora Clavicle and the Ladies' Crime Club", although relying on dated jokes on feminists, is intact
  • Chicago Hope - the season 2 episode "Quiet Riot", written by Peter Berg (the actor of Dr. Billy Kronk), which was a strange episode and its strangeness was undone when it is revealed in-episode that its events were all framed in a dream. was never aired again due to the then-president of CBS Les Moonves personally hating said episode, ordering that it never aired again
  • The Reagans - this CBS documentary, critical of Ronald Reagan, was intensely criticised from right-wing groups who called it a hit piece. The network bowed to the pressure by deciding not to air it, airing it instead on cable on sister station Showtime. (SC)
  • Star Trek: The Original Series - the episode "Plato's Stepchildren" in which the white Kirk kisses the black Uhura wasn't shown in several states. (LC)
  • Nightline - on April 2004, one episode of this show, in which Ted Koppel read the names of soldiers killed in the 2003 Iraq war, was censored by ABC affiliates owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, claiming that it was "motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq" (Sinclair is known for being heavily slanted towards the Republican party). Sinclair, however, did not censor the two later episodes of Nightline where Koppel did a reading of soldiers killed in Afghanistan (2004), and both Afghanistan and Iraq (2005). (SC)
  • The Price Is Right - This show had the episodes in which furs were awarded as prizes removed at request of longtime host Bob Barker (who is a known animal rights activist, who also reminded the viewers to "spay and neuther their pets" at the end of every episode), as well the 1977-1995 episodes featuring model Holly Halstrom, due to various disputes in which she sided against Barker. However, Fremantle disproved this when they launched an 80s channel of formerly vaulted The Price Is Right on Pluto TV in 2021. (SC)
    • After the Katrina hurricane, a rerun where a trip to Mardi Gras was given away was aired. The prize package included a boat. CBS was quick on the draw, as the episode only was shown west of the Rocky Mountains.
    • The taping of the show's episodes was delayed due to the murder of Amie Harwick, Drew Carey's ex-fiancée, where she murdered by a former boyfriend.
  • Password Plus - the episode with Elaine Joyce and George Peppard were the celebrity guests was pulled by NBC due to Peppard starting a rant about standards and practices on game shows, comparing them to a "police state". As a result, Peoppard was banned also from any Mark Goodson and Bill Todman-producted game show ever since then. To make up for the episode, NBC moved the rest of the week episodes by one, bumping to Monday and opening with a disclaimer stating as such and later taping session. Notwistanding this, the episode would later air on Game Show Network in the 21st century. (SC)
    • When the Password Plus reruns were aired by Buzzr, the episodes with words and/or puzzles with words no longer considered politically correct were skipped. Among these there were two KKK puzzles, an episode where the password was "Mafia" and another featuring "Sicilians" as part of the puzzle for "Mafia". Curiously, the last one raised eyebrows in 1979; the password and clues for it were blacked out and muted and host Allen Ludden apologized for the puzzle in the following episode.
  • The Prisoner - the Western-themed episode "Living in Harmony" was rejected for broadcast in the USA for reasons that remain unclear. Suggestions put forward include: (SCC)
    • That it was an out-of-continuity episode and executives found it incomprehensible.
    • That said episode was about pacifism and was considered too controversial during the Vietnam War.
    • That the references to the Village's use of hallucinogenic drugs to help create Number Six's illusion of being in a Western setting were too explicit and were against Standards and Practices rules about depiction of drug use.
    • That the Western plot, in which Number Six's character kills the Kid in a gunfight, contravened Standards and Practices rules depicting shootings by having both characters in shot when the gun was fired - supposedly rules at the time stated that such killings could only be depicted by cutting from the killer firing the gun to the victim falling
  • Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly - its July 18, 2017 episode was not aired by NBC's Connecticut station WVIT due to it featuring an interview with Alex Jones, who is extremely unpopular in the state for claiming that the Sandy Hook shootings were staged. (SCC)
  • Married... with Children - the season 3 episode "I'll See You in Court" was banned from FOX in the light of "moral guardians" complaining about the show's raunchy content (the missing episode was about the Bundys and the Rhoades having sex in a hotel room where they're being videotaped). It finally premiered on FX in June 2002 and has been airing on cable syndication ever since (TBS has aired it), though the episode did air overseas and was released on three DVDs: a compilation of Married With Children's most outrageous episodes, the Sony version of the complete third season set, and Mill Creek's complete series.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess - the episode "The Way" was edited after its initial airing due to the threat of a boycott in India. It turned out that the lobby group which protested was an American splinter group from the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, who objected to the depiction on-screen of the god Krishna, among other things, added to their perception of the two leads - Xena and Gabrielle - as lesbians (which was kept deliberately ambiguous by the producers). The only significant change was that a scene in which Xena attacks the monkey god Hanuman was shortened in order that Hanuman immediately restrains Xena instead of passively accepting several blows from her first; which was actually an improvement. A disclaimer was added to the beginning, and a nod to India's history and culture at the end. The splinter group was given a free advertisement during the first rebroadcast; they used it in part to say that they were not mollified. The edited version became now the official version. Meanwhile, in India, where the series also aired, there was no objection to either version as the most popular series in India at the time was a live-action telling of the Ramayana. (SCC)
  • Unsolved Mysteries - the third episode of season 1 "Halloween" cannot be found in its original version on Amazon Prime Video or on FilmRise YouTube channel. Three segments from this paranormal-only series were split off and migrated into other episodes, but the "Tallman's Ghost" segment (which is considered the most frightening of the entire series run) has been cut completely. The only way to watch is to try to track down a long out of print DVD collection of the show's supernatural stories or to find an alternate upload on YouTube.
  • Without a Trace - the episode "Our Sons and Daughters" was skipped over in syndication on the Escape channel (Pop still airs it) due to the episode's graphic depiction of sex between teenagers. (SC)
  • Sesame Street - this show was banned for a month in 1970 by Mississippi's PBS affiliate due to its multiracial cast. (SCC)
    • From the show's 33rd season, one episode dealt with Telly receiving a visit from his bully cousin, who essentially swipes all of his triangles away from him; Telly, naturally, wants his triangles back, but fears that it will cause a fight between him and his cousin Izzy – we can even see an imagination scene where Telly and Izzy do get into a physical scuffle, and we even see both of them lying in hospital beds, all bandaged up and in casts. Kids watching were apparently more entertained by the humorous fight between Telly and Izzy, rather than responding to the episode's actual anti-bullying message, to the point that Sesame Workshop removed the episode, and as such, it didn't appear again on PBS during that year's summer repeats, and the character of Izzy was retired. The episode did appear on the resource video "You Can Ask!", but with the fight scene omitted.
    • One episode was banned before it even made it to air: Sometime in the early 1990s, an episode was taped where the subject of divorce was tackled, in a plot where Snuffy and his baby sister Alice now live in a "broken home", since their parents had gotten divorced. Sesame Street often pre-screens episodes with focus groups of children, to make sure they grasp a message or educational concept before the episode is approved for airing. However, the kids in the test audiences were so emotionally distraught over the episode that it never saw the light of day on PBS, and to this day, remains unaired.
    • Another 1970s episode had Margaret Hamilton reprising her role as the Wicked Witch of the West, which only aired once and was banned for being too scary. A few scenes towards the end of the episode have popped up online before it was finally uploaded in its entirety in June 2022.
    • Sesame Workshop decided to not air the short "Cracks" after 1980 because they worried that viewers might see the names of the characters in the short as being drug references.
  • Many Golden Age cartoons from Warner Bros., Disney, and MGM have been banned from broadcast due to stereotypical racist depictions of minority groups due to changing values. Cartoons of the time were not shy about insensitive portrayals of marginalized groups (particularly black people, Mexicans, Jews, and Asians) which could be incredibly sexist as well. Some of their wartime cartoons could be particularly nasty. Warner Bros. has a collection of cartoons called the Censored Eleven[Notes 1], which have been banned from airing on TV since 1968 mostly due to pervasive black stereotyping. However, most of them have were unofficially released on home video, particularly the ones whose copyright holders didn't bother renewing the copyright. You can also find them online, and some even have legitimate DVD releases. (SC)
    • In addition to "All This and Rabbit Stew", 11 other Bugs Bunny cartoons were skipped during Cartoon Network's 2001 June Bugs marathon that promised a chronological airing of all of Bugs Bunny's shorts.
      • Although "Any Bonds Today?", "Herr Meets Hare", and clips from "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips" were shown on two special episodes of ToonHeads ("Any Bonds Today" was shown on the ToonHeads special about lost, rare, and obscure works from Warner Bros. studios, while "Herr Meets Hare" and clips from "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips" were shown on the ToonHeads special about World War II shorts); "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt" aired on The Acme Hour on Thanksgiving 2002; "A Feather in His Hare" aired in Cartoon Network's early days and on some international feeds; "What's Cookin', Doc?" aired on The Bob Clampett Show, "Frigid Hare" aired in 2002 following Chuck Jones' death (initially cutting the line about Bugs not going back to work until July of 1953, then later editing the "What an Eskimo piehead!" line), and Cartoon Network's Japanese channel aired "Witch is Which", albeit edited to remove Bugs getting trapped in the pressure cooker and not the part with Bugs posing as an African native to escape Dr. I.C. Spots, meaning that the only 12 banned Bugs cartoons that have never aired on Cartoon Network are "Mississippi Hare", "All This and Rabbit Stew", "Horse Hare", and "Bushy Hare", though "Mississippi Hare", "Bushy Hare", and "Horse Hare" did air on other networks [mostly Nickelodeon, The WB, FOX, and first-run syndication], with some cuts due to violence and minor politically incorrect content.
    • Despite his immense popularity among Latin Americans, Speedy Gonzales is not seen on HBO Max as Warner Bros. is still concerned about the character being an ethnic stereotype.
  • Megan Wants a Millionaire - this dating reality show was cancelled by VH1 after contestant Ryan Alexander Jenkins was involved in a murder-suicide case, where Jenkins strangled his wife Jasmine Fiore to before killing himself. (SC)
  • I Love Money - the third season of this reality show, which was won by the aforementioned Ryan Alexander Jenkins, was cancelled by VH1 as well for the same reason stated above. (SC)
  • All My Children - this sitcom in April 1995 was setting up a storyline in which one of the characters was planning on setting a bomb at the wedding of two other characters. However, the storyline was scrapped due to the Oklahoma City bombing taking place and the producers appeared at the beginning of one of the episodes to explain their choice. (SC)
  • Melrose Place:
    • The season finale, which involved psycho Kimberley planning to bomb the apartment complex, had already been filmed, but was edited. However, it did air for the following season's premiere, where such a topic was not nearly as sensitive (even if ironically, it did air on September 11 1995). (SC)
    • Years later, the plans for a school shooting sequence were dropped in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre. (SCC)
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun - the episode "Tricky Dick", which featured Tommy joining a garage band, where in the original script, the band was going to be called "Shattered Princess". However, due to Princess Diana's death occurring before filming, the band's name got changed to "Whiskey Kitten" instead. In a twist of irony, the episode was filmed out of order due to scheduling conflicts, which meant that the delayed shooting date saved the production the trouble of looping out "Shattered Princess", as explained in that episode's DVD commentary. (SC)
  • Bonanza - According to some sources, the episode "Kingdom of Fear", which was loosely based on Cool Hand Luke), where the Cartwrights were arrested by a despot posing as a lawman for "trespassing on his land", filmed in 1968 and intended to air during the 1968-1969 season, was pulled out due to its violent storyline, in the light of events such as the shooting death of Robert Kennedy, race riots in the aftermath of the killing of Martin Luther King Jr., clashes between police and war protesters and violence at the Democratic National Convention. The episode finally aired in the spring of 1971, three years later. David Canary, who played the ranch hand Candy Cannaday and a series regular from 1967-70 left the show in 1970 and due to his prominence in the show, he was credited as a "special guest star". (SCC)
  • The Brady Bunch - when this show was added to CBS All-Access, the episode "Is There a Doctor in the House?" was omitted in wake of a then-recent measles outbreak. (SCC)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer :
    • The episodes "Earshot" and "Graduation Day" were delayed for several months following the Columbine High School shootings. The former featured a student attempting suicide on campus, while the latter ended with the entire graduating class coming to graduation armed and fighting against a horde of vampires that ended with part of the school being blown up. According to the producers, everyone involved in the show was in favor of scrapping "Earshot", as it would have aired four days after Columbine and was a foreseen mundane school shooting. However, many, among which Joss Whedon, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Seth Green, spoke out against the decision of pull out the finale, hours before its airing, because of kids using axes against the town mayor, a black magician who turned himself into a giant snake.
  • Psycho (1960) - this Alfred Hitchcock's film had an airing pulled from CBS in 1966 at the last minute after the murder of U.S. Senator Charles H. Percy's daughter just days before it was scheduled to air, with Kings Go Forth airing instead.

Some examples of censorship on PBS kids are:

  • Arthur
    • The episode "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone/The Feud" was banned by the state PBS network in Alabama because of its first short focus on Mr. Ratburn's marriage with another man. (SCC)
    • The season 24 episode "The Great MacGrady" (where Lance Armstrong had a cameo) was pulled after the Lance Armstrong doping incident. Armstrong was replaced with the fictional wrestler Uncle Slam Wilson.
    • The episode "Room to Ride/The Frensky Family Fiaco" was pulled as well due to its cameo of Lance Armstrong, after the Armstrong doping incident.
  • Postcards from Buster - the episode "Sugartime!", which featured a family which, in Buster's words, had "a lot of moms!", focused on producing maple syrup in Vermont (which was one of the first U.S. states to legalize same-sex marriage, or "civil unions" as they were called at the time). Apart from a short segment which focused on the fact that the children had a mom and stepmom, the couple was not the focus of the episode. However, PBS pulled the episode from the network schedule after the Secretary of Education threatened to pull the federal funding associated with the network, since "many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in this episode" (this controversy happened in 2005 - at the time, only the state of Massachusetts recognized same-sex marriage, and it wouldn't be legalized across the U.S. for a full ''decade''). WGBH did distribute the episode to individual members who wanted to broadcast it, while some also aired it in primetime, accompanied by discussion of the controversy in a companion show. (SCC)
  • Caillou had seven episodes which were not shown until Cartoonito bought the rights to it:
    • "Big Brother Caillou" was banned due to Caillou pinching Rosie. However, this scene was tame compared to the book that the episode was based on, where Caillou gets even more violent and bites Rosie. (SC)
    • "Caillou Walks Around the Block" was banned as Caillou's mom left him unattended, with Caillou wandering around the neighborhood by himself. In fact, due to the increasing reports of gun violence and child abductions, many neighborhoods in the US became more and more paranoid and discouraging or even outright barring free-range children, and in certain counties parents could be charged of neglect for allowing a child out of the house on his/her own. (SC)
    • "Caillou is Getting Older" was banned for the subject matter of death, fear of getting older, as well for a dead bird appearing on-screen, after just a couple of broadcasts on PBS early in its run. (SC)
    • "Caillou's Quarrel" was banned due to Clementine being bossy and Caillou fighting with her. (SC)
    • "Rosie Bothers Caillou" was banned for a while due to Caillou talking back to his mother, shoving Rosie out of his room and Rosie hitting repeatedly a book against a door (and contrary to what was posted on TV.com, Caillou did not actually hit Rosie with the book, otherwise the episode would not be aired in the first place, as this would be a depiction of domestic violence). The ban would be later rescinded episode was present on the PBS DVD release Caillou's Kitchen in 2018 under the title "Recipe for Fun." (SC)
    • "Caillou's Crossword" was banned due to the excessive use of the word "stupid", even though its usage was part of the episode's message. Strangely enough, some other preschool shows such as Peppa Pig, Stanley and Franklin got away with the word "stupid." However, those shows only use it once whereas Caillou uses it ten times in one episode, which would probably explain it. While "stupid" is obviously not a curse word, many preschool cartoons treat it as if it was one. (SC)
  • Some episodes of Pingu were not aired:
    • "Pingu's Lavatory Story", like in the UK, this episode was usually skipped due to depicting urination on-screen, though it is available on Amazon Video. (SC)
    • "Pingu's Dream" was banned as well, also like in the UK, due to the scary depiction of the walrus in the eponymous dream. (SC)
    • "Pingu Quarrels With His Mother" is sometimes skipped due to the scene of his mom slapping him. Like "Pingu's Lavatory Story", this episode also airs on Amazon Video. (SC)
    • "Pingu and the Doll" is banned because Pingu sticks a feather on his head and acts like a stereotypical Native American. (SC)
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum - the episode "I Am Jackie Robinson/I Am Anna Pavlova" was banned after August 2020 following complaints from viewers about the Jackie Robinson episode trivializing history and systemic racism, specifically, the episode compared minor disagreements between kids, such as the playground bully not liking Yadina's red jacket, to racism. The episode is still available on digital platforms.
  • Eleventh Hour - In the episode "Miracle" of this series, a "healing" spring turns out to be contaminated with tritium, a component in refining nuclear material. In the original UK version, the source of the contamination was a secret government program to manufacture plutonium for the purpose of planting it in foreign countries as a pretense on which to invade. The line "It would be really embarrassing if we decided to invade some country on the claim that they had a nuclear weapons program, and there turn out to be absolutely no evidence" hit too close to home on the other side of the Atlantic during the War on Terror, so in the American version, this plot point of the contamination of the "healing" spring was changed to being the work of white supremacists trying to build a dirty bomb. (SC)
  • The Legend of Calamity Jane - this animated "kid's show" heavily hyped by its broadcaster, The WB, which was full of "family un-friendly" violence, such as guns, hangings, people being shot and explicit mentions of death, the Civil War, slavery, barely made to three episodes before the watchdogs made quick work of it. Nonetheless, it was entirely aired on Teletoon, north of the border, as Canada is considerably laxer in censorship guidelines which concern kid's shows than the US. (SC)
  • Coop & Cami Ask the World - The episode "Would You Wrather Have a Snow Day?", which involved Cami trying to shut school down with a snow day, along with a subplot of Charlotte trying to keep her perfect attendance in spite of catching a cold and going outside where she should not. was pulled off air before its original airing a few weeks before its airing day due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as several schools were shut down. The airing of the episode "Would You Wrather Skate Circles Around Your Sister?" was aired in its place, though the former episode was later released on Disney+.
  • Power Rangers Ninja Storm - the episode "Snip It, Snip It Good", which was about the monster of the week, Snipster, using his powers to make everyone fight eachother at a peace conference was first delayed due to the ongoing Iraq war. Later, it was edited and rewritten where the peace conference was replaced by a city council meeting trying to increase energy efficiency, airing later.
  • Workaholics - The episode in which Chris D'Elia guest starred as a pedophile was pulled from Amazon Prime Video and Hulu in June 2020 after the allegations of D'Elia grooming underage girls started to surface.
  • The Muppet Show - its Disney + release does not include the episode guest-starring Chris Langham, as he was convicted in 2007 for possessing child pornography. The Brooke Shields episode is also missing, but the reason for this one was due to music licensing.)
  • Andi Mack - the episodes in which Stoney Westmoreland appears are also not included due to Westmoreland being sentenced to two years in prison for sex crimes involving a minor.
  • Good Morning America and The View - these shows which aired on Disney-owned ABC were set to feature behind-the-scenes and coverage of the Shanghai Disneyland on June 14, 2016, hosted by Robin Roberts. However, the night before that, a child wading in wated at the Walt Disney World's resort hotel in Orlando, was snatched by an alligator, with "Tragedy at Disney World" ending up being the top story on Good Morning America the next morning as there was no hope that the child would be found alive by then; it turned out that he was found drowned later that day. While the coverage of the disaster became a national news story for the next days, coverage of Shanghai Disneyland on tv was indefinitely postponed without an explanation despite the pre-disaster advertising. As a result, the network came under scrutiny for not discussing (such as CBS and NBC did) the issue about why Disney beaches did not have signs posted about the alligators.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? - the episodes featuring Kathy Griffin are skipped by UP channel due to her posing with a model of Donald Trump's bloody head.
  • Nurses - this Canadian series which aired on NBC in 2021 as a COVID replacement while New Amsterdam was during rewriting and a more slow shooting, had the episode "Achilles Heel" banned when its b-plot was lambasted by Jewish viewers due to an improvised plot twist not existing in real life, in which a Hassicid Jew refused a skin graft because he feared he could get a graft from a Palestinian or Arab donor, as well for the worn-down Orthodox Jew father who disowns the patient for playing casual street basketball in secret, which was the cause of the patient's gruesome leg injury that required the said skin graft (In reality Jewish rabbis do not care from whose donor the skin graft comes, as they consider modern medicine a medicine from above, even if the transplanted tissue comes from someone who they might conflict with). NBC then, took the episode out of air, with its original Canadian network Global following soon after.
  • The Greatest American Hero:
    • In this show, for several episodes, the main character's name was changed from "Ralph Hinkley" to "Ralph Hanley" after John Hinkley Jr. shot president Ronald Reagan.
    • A scene where June Lockhart saying that his name suggests that he is reliable was dubbed over with airplane noise.
  • The Amanda Show - this Nickelodeon show presented by Amanda Byrnes had an episode (29th episode in the series) with a joke about a man exploding on stage in one sketch and a house being crushed by a meteor in another sketch, which was banned after the September 11 2001 terror attacks.
  • The Cosby Show - this show, as of 2021, had most cable networks refusing to air it due to the allegations and convictions brought against Bill Cosby of drugging women to later rape them while unconscious. On Viacom CBS-owned TVLand (and its related networks), any reference to The Cosby Show was removed from the website (often, even shows that formerly aired on the network and not currently accessible from the main page can be accessed if one knows how to search the site). The show was aired by BounceTV until Cosby's conviction in 2018. TVOne still airs said show, which is available entirely on DVD as well.
  • Cold Case - the season 2 episode "Strange Fruit", which revolved around the 1963 death of a black teenager, was removed from StartTV's rotation since summer 2020 due to the police-related deaths of Ahmaud Arbury and George Floyd. Said episode was replaced with re-airings of season 5 episodes such as "Andy in C Minor", which deals with a murder of a deaf 16-year-old, and "Justice", whose plot is about the murder of a college student who raped several women.
  • Law & Order - the episode "Sunday in the Park with Jorge", which was inspired by sexual assault incidents during the New York City 2000 Puerto Rican Day parade, was the only episode in the entire franchise to be banned from broadcasting for over a decade due to the graphic content and complaints from advocacy groups about the portrayal of Puerto Ricans.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent - the episode "The Glory That Was..." was not included in the Season 8 DVD set and banned from syndication for "content" reasons. While the reason was never cleared, it is believed that said episode offended Brazilian politicians portraying them as conducting a huge scandal to secure Rio de Janeiro as an Olympic city (which is why it got banned in Brazil, nevermind that pretty much every international country skipped it as well). Another theory, however, states that the producers did not got proper clearance for the Breakfast at Tiffany's references in the episode, making a copyright issue the reason that got the episode pulled.
  • The Golden Girls:
    • this sitcom had the episode "Mixed Blessings", which was about mixed-race marriage, was completely pulled from circulation due to the gag of Rose and Blanche walking in from the kitchen wearing a mud facial treatment which were mistaken as blackface by Dorothy's son's fiancée (who was a black character) and her family are in the living room.
    • "Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself" - in this episode, a joke made by Sophia about the CBS sitcom My Sister Sam (1986-88) got removed from the syndicated version of the episode, out of respect of My Sister Sam's young star, Rebecca Schaeffer, who was shot to death in her front doorway by a stalker.
    • "The Flu" - this Season 1 episode was removed by Hallmark Channel from its lineup in 2020 after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the girls attending a charity dinner despite all of them being clearly sick.
  • 6teen: several episodes of this Canadian animated series never aired in the US, at least before Tubi and PlutoTV:
    • "Enter the Dragon" was banned due to talking about menstruation.
    • "It's Always Courtney, Courtney, Courtney!" was banned due to the gang making fake IDs claiming they are twenty-one.
    • "The Sushi Connection" was banned due to the "ASS. MAN" joke.
    • "Bicker Me Not" was banned due to Gracie Bickerson being called a rude word (a "harpy"), and for including a gay character (a big no-no in American children's media at the time).
  • Scrubs
    • An episode was pulled out because it featured Janitor tricking J.D. into appearing racist against East Asians; when he was in college, a black fraternity mistook J.D. for being racist against blacks because he showed up at their door in blackface.
  • W/ Bob & David - this show had some episodes banned due to use of blackface in 2020.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
    • "Lethal Weapon 5" and "The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6" - in these episodes, Mac uses makeup to play the role of Murtaugh. The rest of the gang argue that he's donning blackface and point to the trope image of Al Jolson to back criticize him. His makeup starts washing off in one scene filmed in a shower. Dennis refuses to darken his skin and only wears a mustache, though he does do a "black voice." In another scene, Dee also uses makeup to portray Murtaugh's daughter. The use of blackface got these episodes kicked off of Netflix in 2020.
  • 30 Rock - this sitcom had three episodes removed from streaming and reruns by request of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, due to the use of blackface in said episodes :
    • "Believe in the Stars" - this season three episode got pulled due to the subplot of Jenna posing as a black man.
    • The live episode from season six got banned due to a parody of Amos 'n Andy which featured Jon Hamm as a black stereotypical character and Tracy Morgan as a dignified black actor who asked Jon's character to stop acting stereotypical. Said live episode also caught controversy when it premiered due to John Hamm acting stereotypically black, but nothing was made of that until years later.
    • "The Source Awards" - this season one episode, curiously, was not removed, despite including scenes where white characters are mistaken for racist in the eyes of black characters.
    • "Rosemary's Baby" - in this episode, differently from what expected, the line where Rosemary suggests that they do a sketch where a white cast member is in blackface and calls Tracy Jordan the N-word was not altered or censored.
  • Community - The season 2 episode "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" where Chang cosplays as a dark elf, in which other characters, in disgust, remark it looked like blackface, was removed from Netflix and Hulu on June 2020. However, it is not banned in the DVD sets or on Amazon Prime Video.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard - this show was pulled from TV Land and other networks due to the response to the Charleston SC church shooting in 2015 and the controversy surrounding the modern display of the Confederate battle flag (which is displayed on the roof of the 1969 Dodge Charger R/T known as the "General Lee" in the show) after shooter Dylann Roof was seen displaying the flag in online profiles and used it as a symbol for his desire to start a race war. The flag had been a divisive symbol for years, and Roof's use of it was pretty much the final nail in its coffin.
  • Ellen - "The Puppy Episode", where host Ellen DeGeneres comes out as a lesbian, was preempted by Birmingham, AM ABC Affiliate WBMA during its first broadcast in 1997, out of concern cited by its then-general manager that the storyline would upset conservative Evangelicals (who typically frown upon homosexuality) in Central Alabama. The preemption, which came after ABC rebuffed WBMA's request to tape delay the episode, in late-night slot, was criticized by gay rights and civil libertarian activists by beaming an ABC-provided feed of said episode organised by GLAAD and local gay rights organization Birmingham Pride Alabama for viewing to a 1000 person (mostly gay, lesbian and LG ally) audience in downtown Birmingham auditorium (some area cable providers fed the episode via adjacent ABC affiliates such as Atlanta's WSB-TV). It was later overturned, as WBMA allowed it to rerun later that same season.
  • Hawaii Five-O (1968) - the season 2 episode "Bored, She Hung Herself" was banned by CBS in 1970 due to a viewer reportedly dying from imitating a deadly yoga technique greatly resembling autoerotic asphyxiation, which appeared on the show. As a consequence, said episode being barred from being seen on network syndication or home video/DVD release.
  • iCarly:
    • the episode "iRue the Day" was banned for a while from Nickelodeon and TeenNick when Sony was hacked in 2014. The reason for the ban was because of the episode's depiction of a hacking heist. The following year, the episode was reran again.
    • the episode "iLost My Mind" was removed from Paramount+ and reruns on TeenNick due to its plot being eerily similar to the "Free Britney" movement. However, the episode is still available for purchase through The Complete 4th Season DVD and can be bought on iTunes, YouTube and Google Play (although only if the complete season 5 on the latter two and the entire series on the former.) In a strange way, though, "iFix a Pop Star", which had a direct parody of Britney Spears, was not pulled from rotation.
  • I Love Lucy - for a time in the 1960s, the final season episode "The Ricardos Visit Cuba" was withheld from broadcast by several networks due to the relationship between the US and Cuban governments straining at that time (such as the missile crisis at the Bay of Pigs).
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998) - the pseudo-season finale "See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey" was banned, allegedly due to being about communism or its heavy use of strobe effects (which could have triggered epileptic seizures in more sensible viewers). However, as the show creator Craig McCracken revealed in his Tumblr account, the real reason of the ban was because of the perceived religious imagery, claiming the metal beams in the destroyed buildings resembled too much crosses and one the hippies looked like Jesus. However, the episode can still be seen on the complete series DVD set for the show, as well on digital download and some streaming services (It is not present on HBO Max).
  • Forged in Fire - the first episode of the eight season was taken down from every service offering it after a contestant was publicly revealed having Nazi tattoos on his neck which were carefully concealed by a bandanna during filming.
  • Fear Factor (2011) - one episode of the 2011 revival of a show was outright refused airing by NBC due to a stunt where the contestants were forced to drink a blend of donkey semen and urine. The Fear Factor 2011 revival was recanceled at the end of the episode order.
  • Impractical Jokers - five episodes, which featured Joe Gatto in suggestive situations, were withdrawn from reruns and streaming in January 2022, after his departure from the group and divorce from his wife
    • "The Dream Crusher", where the Jokers brought in Joe's then-wife during a challenge which involved kissing people at the mall.
    • "Stripped of Dignity", in which Joe's punishment was stripping for strangers in a park
    • "Bull Shiatsu", in which Joe hid in a massage chair, rubbing people for a punishment
    • "Sun-Fan Lotion", where Joe was punished by having a parkgoer rubbing suntan all over him
    • "Rock Bottom", in which Joe was punished by standing half-naked in front of a group of college students giving a presentation.
  • Jessie - The episode "Quitting Cold Koala", where it originally showed Bertran and the Ross kids making jokes about Stuart's allergy to gluten, was originally banned by Disney Channel due to a controversy regarding Stuart's gluten restrictions. To address the issue, DIsney Channel posted on their Facebook page: "We are removing this particular episode from our regular programming schedule and will re-evaluate its references to gluten restrictions in the character's diet." Said episode aired on July 5, 2013 as part of a 2-episode spectacular, where it was edited and revised, removing any mention of Stuart's gluten allergies.
  • Roseanne - the reruns of this show were pulled from TV Land in 2018 due to Roseanne Barr's (the show's star) controversial tweets, which led to her series' cancellation. The reruns, however, were reinstated by October of that same year.
  • Shining Time Station - the episode "The Mayor Runs For Re-Election" was removed from rotation permanently due to it featuring a Richard Nixon impersonator and many PBS affiliates aired the first rerun of this episode aired it during the day of his funeral in 1994.
  • Son of the Beach - the episode "Chip's a Goy!", which aired twice in summer 2001, was banned after the September 11 attacks, due to it featuring a character called Osama Bin Layden (an obvious parody of Osama Bin Laden). The episode can still be found on DVD, where it is stated to be "Never Before Seen".
  • Punky Brewster had two episodes banned. One is "Metamorphosis", in which Punky gets her first training bra, and the second is "The Perils of Punky", banned due to the unexpectedly disturbing content during Punky's scary story.
  • Quantum Leap - the episode "Justice", where Sam leaps into a Ku Klux Klan member, is skipped due to the subject matter and the frequent use of the "N-word".
  • Seinfeld - The episode "The Puerto Rican Day", was initially pulled after its original broadcast, mainly because NBC was concerned that the episode was too offensive with its depictions of Puerto Ricans, as well as a scene where Kramer accidentally burned a Puerto Rico flag, causing an angry mob of Puerto Ricans trashing the streets, and vandalizing Jerry's car (to which, Kramer remarked, "It's like this every day in Puerto Rico."). As of 2010, certain local markets across the country had placed the episode back into their packages; but as of 2012, the episode is now back permanently in the syndication package, with Kramer's line, "It's like this every day in Puerto Rico" edited out.
  • So Random - an episode which made jokes about eating disorders was indefinitely pulled from rotation after Demi Lovato (who managed to overcome anorexia) complained about it on Twitter, though it did later turn up on streaming services.
  • Shake It Up - the episode "Party It Up" was removed from rotation by Disney Channel after a complaint from Demi Lovato on Twitter, according to which one of the jokes made light of anorexia (Lovato had overcome that eating disorder). The episode aired without the anorexia joke.
  • Worst Cooks in America - this season 20 of this show was banned in January 2021 after the season winner was arrested for murdering her adopted daughter.
  • Dexter's Laboratory:
    • the episode "Dial M for Monkey" had the segment "Barbequor", where it depicted the title character, a parody of Galactus, "The Silver Spooner" an parody of the Silver Surfer with a stereotyped effeminate gay personality (complete with effeminate voice and the love for Judy Garland) and references and jokes about the "Infrangible Crunk" being drunk barbecue, cut. The reason for the omission of the segment, differente from what many would believe, was not because of "The Silver Spooner", but actually it was on the grounds of rights issues with Marvel, who owns the rights of Silver Surfer.
    • the episode "Rude Removal" was thought an urban legend until its premiere at a comic book convention and then shown on Adult Swim (What is urban legend is that the episode used to air on TV or that the creators ever attempted to get it aired. It was made as a joke.).
  • Certain Disney wartime cartoons such as Commando Duck, Der Fuerher's Face and Education for Death are never shown on television and are not available on Disney+. They are however available on DVD.
  • Less officially than the Censored Eleven, several Golden Age cartoon shorts have been taken out from rotation in recent decades due to ethnic stereotypes of various races, naturally, some of these are from World War II, though there are some post-WWII Warner Bros shorts that were phased out due to sensibility, among of them:
    • "Injun Trouble" - The last Looney Tunes cartoon made in the original studio, hasn't aired on TV since the 70s due to numerous Native American stereotypes as the title alone indicates
    • "China Jones" - an obscure Daffy Duck cartoon where he is a Cockney detective trying to solve a mystery in Shanghai. The short is available on the Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Volume 3 Blu-Ray set.
    • "Wise Quackers" - where Daffy ends up becoming Elmer Fudd's slave after crashing on his farm
    • "The Oily American" - a one-shot cartoon about an American Indian millionaire who hires a moose to hunt
    • "High Note" - which was banned for showing drunkenness for laughs.
  • Popeye - some cartoons producing during WWII were banned (even though some fell into public domain, which makes them easy to find via streaming or bootleg), among which "You're A Sap, Mr. Jap", "Scrap the Japs" and "Seein' Red, White, & Blue". Two cartoons, "Pop-Pie Ala Mode" and "popeye's Pappy" were banned from television for featuring African cannibal stereotypes.
  • Some Tex Avery's post-Warner Bros. shorts were banned, like "Uncle Tom's Cabana" and "Half-Pint Pygmy".
  • Tom and Jerry - Any short featuring Mammy Two-Shoes (examples being “The Mouse Comes to Dinner”, "Mouse Cleaning", "Saturday Evening Puss" and “The Framed Cat”), "Casanova Cat", “Texas Tom”, “Blue Cat Blues”, "His Mouse Friday", and “Cruise Cat” have rarely been shown on Cartoon Network and Boomerang as of the late 2000’s.
    • Ironically, the three widely controversial shorts produced during Gene Deitch’s time at MGM such as “Down and Outing”, “High Steaks”, and “Sorry Safari” still air on Boomerang to this day. The three shorts have never been banned and censored.
    • "Dicky Moe" featured sexually-related content (including the short's title). The short rarely aired on Cartoon Network but Boomerang continues to air the short as of 2018.
  • Various cartoons by Harman and Ising have been banned, with the most notable example being Happy Harmonies, which featured Bosko and Honey in their original and redesigned looks.
  • Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat - this Universal cartoon short was notable that it was considered offensive even during its time, to the point that it was banned in 1949 after its re-release, only eight years after its release, which prompted Walter Lantz to avoid any racial and ethnic stereotyping in his cartoons, as well as promising to never allow it to air on television. Though, it has since fallen into the public domain and can be found online and on many bargain bin DVDs.
  • It Happened to Crusoe - this 1941 Columbia Pictures cartoon short has never been seen again after its release, and will not see its release on home video or network syndication due to its offensive racial stereotypes.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • "The episode "Mass Transit Trouble", where Dr. Robotnik plotted to disrupt the Mobius transportation system by planting time bombs in several transit hubs around the planet, was pulled twice due to its unusually terroristic undertones: The first time by USA Network and local stations after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and the second time by Toon Disney after September 11 2001. The episode was also blacklisted from VHS releases, it could only be uncovered through home video recordings of said episode, until its release on DVD.
    • "Magnificent Sonic" was pulled from Toon Disney after the Columbine High School massacre due to the repeated wielding of guns throughout the episode.
    • The episode "Robo-Ninjas" was skipped over by Toon Disney during said channel's run of the show for unknown reasons, though it can be speculated that the reason was the stereotypical depictions of East Asians. Like "Mass Transit Trouble", it only returned to circulation when it was released on DVD. However, this episode did air on USA Network.
  • The Boondocks:
    • The two-parter Season 2 finale, "The Hunger Strike" and "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show", which lampooned BET, were removed due to legal threats from BET and its parent company Paramount Global. These two episodes finally premiered on Adult Swim on May 29, 2020, during a Boondocks marathon (while Canadian cartoon channel, Teletoon, merely aired the episodes with a warning that stated that the jokes about BET are not the view. They are now available on HBO Max completely uncut.
    • The season 3 episode "The Story of Jimmy Rebel" was removed due to it being deemed too racist / politically incorrect (which is odd for a show that's already packed with a lot of racial humor). Said episode is not on HBO Max, though this is more because the streaming service premiered around the time of major "Black Lives Matter" protests over George Floyd's murder from police brutality)
    • The season 3 episode "Pause" were removed, the former , and the latter because Tyler Perry complained about how the character Winston Jerome was a mockery of him. "Pause" finally reran again on Adult Swim for the first time since 2010, following the BET 2-parter's premiere on the same night, and is now on HBO Max.
    • The entire season 4 was not rerun on Adult Swim for years, due to its mostly negative reception by fans and critics. In 2020, Adult Swim finally started rerunning Season 4 at a 4:00am graveyard slot on Saturdays. The season is also available for viewing on DVD, Hulu, and HBO Max.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold - the episode "The Mask of Matches Malone" was banned because of a song full of innuendoes sang by the Birds of Prey (Black Canary, Huntress and Catwoman). The episode later, aired in the United States, with part of the sequence (where Black Canary wiggles her finger while signing about Aquaman's "little fish") censored.
  • Phineas and Ferb: The episode "Ready for the Bettys" was pulled from reruns between 2009 and 2015 due to real-life issues with a real-life band named The Bettys that the writers were not aware at the time. As side effect, "Phineas and Ferb Musical Cliptastic Countdown" was withdrawn due to that episode's song being present in the #10 spot and the episode "The Flying Fishmonger" was pulled due to being paired with "Ready for the Bettys".
  • Beavis and Butthead:
    • "Comedians" - the first episode of the third season, where Beavis tried to juggle flaming newspapers and burning down a comedy club, was banned a month after the Ohio mobile home fire that claimed the life of a two-year-old girl that Beavis and Butt-Head were blamed for. This episode was pulled out of rotation and later heavily censored.
    • The episodes "Stewart's House" and" Kidnapped" were banned due to featuring instances of Beavis saying "Fire! Fire!" or flicking a lighter.
    • The episodes "Frog Baseball" and "Washing the Dog" were banned for their depiction of animal cruelty.
    • The episodes "Home Improvement" and "Way Down Mexico Way" were banned for featuring inhalant and drug abuse, despite both episodes having warnings clearly stating that inhaling paint thinner and swallowing a rubber full of drugs, respectively, was considered dangerous unless the viewer was a cartoon character.
    • The episodes "Heroes" and "Incognito" were banned due to being perceived as of bad taste in the aftermath of the Columbine High School shooting and of the September 11 2001 attacks.
    • Many of said episodes air on Viacom CBS-owned networks overseas unedited. The episodes that are banned due to music licensing issues or due to Mike Judge's dislike for said episodes that he does not want anyone else to see them ever again.
  • Maya the Bee - the episode "King Willi" was pulled by Netflix after complaints from a mother having noticed something that looked like a phallic shape carved on a log, railing against it, which spread all over the Internet in a strange way, garnering more attention to the series than ever. Said episode aired back in 2012, which meant that it took 5 years for someone to notice the shape that slipped by. The series is a co-produced by France and Germany, who are more relaxed with sexual images than the USA, even though that did not stop the producers from having to do damage control. Contrary to what some news outlet say, Maya the Bee is not a Netflix original.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show:
    • The 1992 episode "Man's Best Friend" was not aired on Nickelodeon due to the use of the character George Liquor, as well for a scene where Ren violently hits George with an oar repeatedly. This ban was the reason why John Kricfalusi and Spumco were fired from the series' production and Nickelodeon Animation Studios took over. The episode finally aired on TNN/Spike TV as part of Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" in 2003 and was included on the first and second season DVD set from Paramount Home Video in 2004.
    • The final season episode "Sammy and Me" originally did not air on Nickelodeon due to the jokes about Sammy Davis, Jr.'s glass eye, which the estate of Davis, Jr. did not took well. The episode was first aired on MTV in 1996, and eventually, on Nickelodeon in the summer of 2000.
    • Another final season episode, "The Last Temptation of Ren" originally was withheld from broadcast on Nickelodeon due to alleged religious content. The episode aired alongside "Sammy and Me" on MTV in 1996. "The Last Temptation of Ren" not only never aired on Nickelodeon, but never aired on Nicktoons. 22 years later, it eventually aired on NickRewind.
  • Rocko's Modern Life - Despite the many adult jokes that got past the censors, some of which were edited out in reruns, the show had only two episodes banned for content:
    • The episode "Leap Frogs", centred on Bev Bighead trying to seduce Rocko while her husband was at work for feeling she is not being loved by Ed, was banned due to risque content. Said episode did aired twice before Nickelodeon realized about the risqué content, demanding it to be cut.
    • The episode "Heff in a Handbasket" was withdrawn after the show's initial run due to its references to Hell and Satanism, even more extreme than "To Heck and Back" (The episode involving Heffer trading his soul to Peaches to be in a game show). When the above-mentioned "Leap Frogs" was shown for a while before being pulled by the network, "Heff in a Handbasket" was still on rotation until the network removed the show, which meant there were two half-hours including "Wallaby on Wheels" (one with the original "Heff in a Handbasket", and one with "Bedfellows").
    • The episode "Jet Scream", whose plot revolved around Rocko and Heffer getting into hijinks on a plane trip, was temporarily withdrawn from reruns after the September 11, 2001 attacks. A year later, the episode returned into rotation on Nicktoons.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The episode "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson", whose setting was mostly in and around the World Trade Center, was removed from syndication after September 11, 2001. However, fans protested to the episode being removed, as it was one of the most popular episodes of The Simpsons. Since then, the episode was brought back, albeit with the jokes and scenes centered around the Twin Towers either cut or edited on some local affiliates, while other affiliates (which often retained the tapes for years and air them in any order besides the one suggested by their syndicator, Disney-ABC Domestic Television) have the episode uncut and uncensored, except for some cuts and a character's line about how "They stick all the jerks in Tower One." The original uncensored episode is on the season 9 DVD, with the writers' commentary about how the episode is now in bad taste due to September 11, but still has timeless moments, such as the Betty Ford rehab musical.
    • The episode "New Kids on The Blecch", which aired seven months before September 11, was withheld for a while to later be edited to remove a scene where a tower (the headquarters of MAD Magazine) was being destroyed.
    • The episode "A Streetcar Named Marge" was removed from syndication in 2005, after the Hurricane Katrina, due to its unflattering references to New Orleans, which angered their residents on the original airing, which resulted in the Bart's chalkboard punishment gag where he wrote "I will not defamate New Orleans" in the later episode.
    • The episode "Stark Raving Dad", which featured some voicework of the late Michael Jackson, was removed from circulation and from future issues of the Season 3 DVD set in March 2019 by the show's produced upon their viewing of the controversial HBO/Channel 4 documentary "Leaving Neverland", which documented a third round of high-profile child molestation accusations against Jackson. Although the episode turned up once on FXX that October, it has not been rerun anywhere else since then. The ban extends also to Disney-owned international networks and to Disney+.
  • South Park:
    • The milestone episodes "200" and "201" only aired once and were removed from the South Park Studios site due to a death threat that Trey Parker and Matt Stone received from a small Islamist group after the airing of "200". When "201" was aired by Comedy Central, any mention of the Prophet Muhammad and the entire Kyle's monologue about giving in to fear were censored, while Parker and Stone were not allowed to disclose its details (The uncensored version has since been leaked in which the characters say in an inspirational tone that threatening violence is the best route to getting someone's way.). The censorship applied to these two episodes still remains for the DVD versions and both episodes never aired since then.
    • The episode "Super Best Friends" which features religious figures (including the Prophet Muhammad), was no longer syndicated, due to the same reasons as the above mentioned "200". However, "Super Best Friends" can be found on the season 5 DVD.
  • Spider-Man (1967 animated series) - the fifth episode of the first season, "The One-Eyed Idol/Fifth Avenue Phantom" was occasionally withdrawn of circulation due to containing many content that these days would be considered racist and sexist.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • The season 12 episode "Kwarantined Krab" was not aired initially due to Nick's concerns about the sensitivity it would cause about the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Vincent Waller's tweet, it was even missing from the season 12 DVD (though another season 12 episode, "HiccupPlague" was not aired in the USA due to COVID, was included on the set). Said episode, alongside "Hiccup Plague" finally aired in the USA in April 2022.
    • The episode "Mid-Life Crustacean", as many viewers noticed, was missing from Paramount+ and removed from Amazon Prime Video without notice in 2021. Nick later confirmed that said episode had been "out of rotation" from the main channel (the final time it aired was on NickToons on February 26, 2021 as part of the second incarnation of the channel's "Every SpongeBob Ever" marathon) since 2018 due to featuring not specified "story elements were not kid-appropriate", though it can be due to the episode involving SpongeBob, Patrick and Mr. Krabs engaging in a "panty raid" winding up being at Mr. Krab's mom's house. The episode can still be bought on YouTube and iTunes, though only as part of a collection of episodes on the latter.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) - The episode "Insane in the Membrane", where Baxter Stockman cloned his old body and inserted his brain inside, going fine for a while until a few months he started to fall apart and tries to fix himself in many ways, including chopping off limbs and blames April O'Neil for all had happened to him, never aired on FOX due to being quite disturbing for kids. The episode though was available on DVD and shown on the former 4KidsTV website. Eventually, the episode aired in the USA on Nicktoons in 2015.
  • What A Cartoon - the short "The Kitchen Casanova" was withdrawn from the show later due to a scene featuring Casanova accidentally cutting his finger off while trying to cut some carrots.
  • Mickey Mouse Works - the short "Minnie Takes Care of Pluto" was banned due to its disturbing premise of Pluto having the paranoid belief that Minnie planned to kill him and for featuring a scene of Pluto dreaming he was in Hell. As a consequence, it is one of the only MouseWorks shorts to never be recycled as a part of House of Mouse.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - The episode "The Last Roundup" was withdrawn from iTunes due to a scene involving the popular background character Derpy Hooves, which was lambasted for being a stereotype of mentally disabled people (what she was not meant to be, but which she unfortunately looked like). The episode was later reinstated, but the scene was edited to remove her goofy-sounding voice (which actually was an error by part of her voice actress, who thought the character was a stallion, and gave her a masculine voice, making Derpy Hooves sound odd), her crossed eyes and any mention of her name (which was thought to be a slur, it was a fan nickname where "derpy" was meant to be something similar to "wacky"). Following fan backlash, the original episode was again available and Derpy was been reincluded in the series with some changes: her crossed eyes were intact, but was written as dumb and clumsy and her name is not mentioned.
  • Cow and Chicken - the season 2 episode "Buffalo Gals" was withdrawn after its original broadcast, due to a letter written to Cartoon Network by a mother where she complained about the evident lesbian stereotypes (which involved butch-looking female bikers breaking into people's houses and literally munching on carpets) and innuendo (focused on lesbian sex, such as the puns on carpet-munching and the pun on "pitch and catch"). As a side effect, rerun versions of this episode replace the segment with a rerun of season 1 episode "Orthodontic Police". The episode was removed from Netflix as well.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch - the episode "Sex, Lugs and Rock 'n' Roll" had a scheduled rerun was withdrawn by MTV after the death of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Sr., as the third segment of said episode depicted scenes of car crashes and made light of fatal accidents (however, in the segment, Earnhardt wins a deathmatch against Jeff Gordon by crushing the latter's body with his car, and crushing him to a pulp with his back tire). However, this episode was actually brought back from being banned by MTV by airing it uncut on March 22, 2003 at 11:00 pm.
  • Dudley Do-Right - the short "Stokey the Bear" was banned due to a complaint from the U.S. Forest Service about the titular Stokey the Bear, which is a parody of Smokey Bear that is hypnotically turned into a pyromaniac by Snidley Whiplash and every print was ordered to be destroyed. However, a surviving print was found by Classic Media and is now included on the Rocky and Bullwinkle DVD sets.
  • The Mask (animated series) - When this show aired on FOX Family (before it was changed to ABC Family and then Freeform, and then as The Family Channel), the season 2 episode "Flight as a Feather" was not aired due to the infamous sequence where the mayor's psycho stripper ex-girlfriend Cookie BaBoom crashes an outdoor ceremony and threatens to kill herself and the mayor with dynamite strapped to her naked body only for The Mask to strip her, using her nudity to distract Kellaway and Doyle. While CBS aired only seasons one and three of The Mask, season two (which has "Flight as a Feather" on as an episode) was put on syndication on affiliate stations that once ran The WB or UPN, as well as some Cartoon Network and Boomerang channels overseas, some of which banned said episode due to content.
  • Gargoyles - the episode "Deadly Force" was temporarily removed from rotation, then re-aired with the scene of Broadway accidentally shooting Eliza with her own gun edited in order to remove the blood around Eliza's body. As of 2020, the uncensored version can be found on Disney+.
  • High School U.S.A.:
    • The episode "Sexting" was banned for frequent used of strong sexual slang and nudity (though most of it is censored). While said episode was aired twice on American TV and rated TV-MA, it can be also found on the series' official website.
    • The episode "Best Friends Forever" was banned from syndication because of the ending scene in which the gang make a porn film together (though the viewer cannot see anything too risque, the cast is all underage). Said episode was only available for Hulu subscribers, but has since expired, making the only way to see the episode being through illegal downloading
  • Invader Zim - the episode "Door to Door" (and the follow-up episode "FBI Warning of Doom"), which featured a scene where alien spaceships destroying a city similar to New York City with the Statue of Liberty sinking, was originally scheduled to be broadcast on September 14, 2001, but was withdrawn from the schedule after the September 11 attacks. A new scene was animated to replace the scene in question in order to remove any New York City imagery (although said new scene is more violent). The episode premiered on March 29, 2002. However, the uncensored version of the episode was mistakenly broadcast in lieu of the new version. Every rerun of the episode featured the new scene instead, as well every home video and online release.
  • The Flintstones - when the show was rerun on MeTV, the episode "The Prowler" was skipped due to the episode featuring heavy Japanese racial stereotyping.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes - the episode "The Big Drip", which centered around Jimmy having an urge to go to the bathroom, never aired in the USA due to Disney finding the content "inappropriate".
  • Clarence - the episode "Straight Illin", which aired only once on Cartoon Network, was withdrawn due to complaints about the disgusting content. It is available for viewing on HBO Max's "Cartoon Network" section.
  • Family Guy:
    • The episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein", which originally was intended to be released only on DVD and then aired on Adult Swim three years after its production, was pulled by FOX out of fear that it would offend Jews (even though, contrary to what was said by FOX Standards and Practices personnel, Seth MacFarlane brought in an actual rabbi to make sure if the episode was kosher, and it was.) and Catholics. Finally, only Peter's "Even though they killed my Lord" line near the end of the musical number "I Need a Jew" had to be altered to "I don't think they killed my Lord" in order to get the episode aired on Adult Swim. When it was announced that Family Guy was going to return with new episodes, FOX themselves aired the once-banned episode, which had the same censorship as the Adult Swim version, as well as the scene of Quagmire "looking for his keys" in front of Lois shortened so that he would not look like he was masturbating (which was the point of said joke).
    • The season 8 episode "Partial Terms of Endearment" was banned by FOX due to its subject being abortion. Said episode was later released as a DVD-exclusive episode, like the above-mentioned "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" before it aired in TV, and was broadcast on most international channels such as UK's BBC3 (though the international versions are edited with scenes cut or edited for content and/or time reasons).
    • The episode "Turban Cowboy", which centered on a terrorist attack and featured a cutaway gag of Peter killing Boston Marathon runners by driving his car through the race, was both pulled from Hulu and the official FOX website after the Boston Marathon bombing. Seth MacFarlane mentioned his regret about making that episode due to some conspiracy theorist on YouTube making a video that served as "evidence" about MacFarlane predicting the marathon bombing by piecing together the cutaway of Peter roadkilling the marathon runners with his car and the climax where Peter was being used by his Muslim friend in a plot to blow up the bridge. Said episode returned from being banned, but is mostly broadcasted in cable reruns (TBS, CN, and later Freeform and FXX), on DVD, Netflix, and later Disney+.
    • After the death of Robin Williams and the revelation that the cause was suicide, the episode "Family Guy Viewer Mail #2" was pulled from Adult Swim airings due to the second story "Fatman and Robing", being centered on Peter attempting suicide after being cursed to transform everything he touches into Robin Williams. However, like "Turban Cowboy", the episode has since come from being banned, returing to Adult Swim's rotation.
    • The season 10 "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q." was only broadcast once before FOX pulled it in 2011 due to its heavy references to domestic violence, which made the episode lambasted by viewers and critics. However, the episode is available on DVD and in syndication.
    • When Freeform bought the rerun rights to Family Guy, (after Disney buyed out 20th Century Fox) starting from season 16, the episode "Nanny Goats" was skipped due to a scene where Mickey Mouse murders Fievel Mousekewitz in an anti-Semitic hate crime. When the show moved to midnights in June 2019, Freeform aired the full episode, with no cuts.
  • Bluey - the episode "Dad Baby" was banned from both Disney Junior and Disney+ due to the game being Bandit pretending to be "pregnant" with Bingo, including him doing a fake water birth.
  • Thomas & Friends: There were two episodes, Daisy and Percy's Predicament, were banned from airing on Shining Time Station due to co-creator Rick Sigglekow's disapproval of Daisy's overly feminine design and her lazy and stubborn personality. However, the episodes were allowed to be release on home video in 1993 as Britt Allcroft wanted to re-record the first two seasons with George Carlin. The only episode featuring Daisy that was aired was Season 4's "Bull's Eyes", which was made after Rick was done working for the show. "Daisy" and "Percy's Predicament" wouldn't be broadcast on TV until Fox Family's Captain Kangaroo Mister Moose's Fun Time aired them in 1998.

Video game censorship[]


  • The infamous attorney and activist Jack Thompson, who self-appointed himself as a crusader against video games, blamed said medium for almost any evil which afflicted American society. Before that, he was involved in efforts to censor rap music. He had a story of angrily overreacting to any issue-of-the-moment, being vitriolic towards more rational persons on any side of said issue and threats of legal action on anyone who disagreed with him (to the point that his lawsuits expanded to include the Florida Supreme Court as a target). However, he was said to be relatively harmless, as his rants costed him his credibility and his license to practice law.


In the United States, video games are rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a self-regulatory organization, founded in 1994, in response to the controversial videogames deemed excessively violent or sexual, after 1993 Congress hearings following the releases of Mortal Kombat and Night Trap for home consoles and Doom for computers. Its ratings system is based on the MPA film rating system with additional considerations for video game interactivity.

Instances of video game censorship[]

  • (SC) - Self-Censorship
  • (EC) - ESRB Censorship
  • (LC) - Legal Censorship
  • (CC) - Console Censorship [banned by manufacturer of console, e.g., Nintendo/SEGA/Microsoft/Sony]
  • (SCC) - Special Case Censorship

Certain games have been censored by their developers or publisher in order to get a certain ESRB rating, or in order to make the game more family friendly and less controversial.

The ESRB's highest rating, "Adults Only," has been considered a total ban on the mainstream sale of certain games, as most retailers refuse to stock games carrying the rating, and they cannot be published on major video game consoles due to company policies. The release of Thrill Kill, an AO-rated fighting game with extreme violence and strong sexual themes, was outright cancelled by Electronic Arts (who had acquired its developer) due to objections over its content. Following the discovery of an incomplete sex minigame that was not included in the final game but was still present in the game's code and could be accessed using a modification or cheating device, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was re-rated Adults Only and recalled by Rockstar Games, in favor of a new revision of the game that omitted the offending content entirely and carried the original Mature rating.

  • Super Contra - the NES version of this game was retitled in the US as Super C to avoid connotations with the Iran-Contra scandal going on at the time. The Game Boy game also named Contra in Japan was renamed Operation C in the US.
  • House of the Dead 2 - This game was set to be launched with the Sega Dreamcast and an official light gun controller along with it, but the official gun was not released due to the Columbine shootings. However, third-party companies released theirs without any issue.
  • Resident Evil: Gun Survivor - the US release of this game had its lightgun support removed due to the Columbine High School massacre.
  • Perfect Dark - the Nintendo 64 release of this game originally was going to have the Transfer Pak accessory's function supporting transferring photos from the Game Boy Camera to create characters with real-life faces, but this functionwas axed during development, as result of both technical issues, as well, of sensitive issues surrounding the ability of players to attack images of real people, which was seen in poor taste following the Columbine massacre.
  • Manhunt - the first game was target of controversy of how the game was very graphic about the violence the player could commit, which led the game to be banned in several countries.
  • Manhunt 2 - This sequel to Manhunt (see above), also received the same treatment as its predecessor, with notable names such as Hillary Clinton and Jack Thompson trying to get the game restricted in the United States. The PlayStation2 and Wii versions of this game were originally rated as "Adults Only" by the ESRB, which greatly limited the number of retailers who would carry it. Eventually, it was eventually censored enough for a "Mature" rating. The PC version however was released uncut. (EC)
  • As of 2018, Valve stated that it would only outright reject games that were blatantly illegal or "trolling" from being sold on Steam. However, in 2019, it rejected a game over "costs and risks" associated with its controversial subject matter. In a nutshell, Valve catches that if such game was allowed, Valve will have tremendously negative publicity. Said game was made by a troll who wanted to test how far Steam allowed sensitive subject matter to go (as hentai and school shooting games had previously been released on Steam due to Valve's notoriously lax policy). (SCC)
  • For various reasons[Notes 2], Paseli, Konami's digital payment currency for its arcade games, is not used outside Japan and cannot be added to an e-Amusement account not registered as being in Japan, causing issues with Round1's official imports of Konami's BEMANI games in the United States, as they have increasingly included paywalls such as subscriptions and specific types of "premium" credits (intended to create additional revenue to make up for changes in Japanese tax laws) for specific in-game features. Also, it is pretty much standard for Japanese arcades to use cash (mostly via coin slots or contactless payments), while most North American arcades now tend to use tokens (physical, or stored on an arcade-specific card, not unlike Paseli). DanceDanceRevolution is exempted from this since A and A20, as the North American build remove said paywalls and makes the "Premium" mode accessible via coin mode. Round1 initially set their machines to have Premium require two credits worth of tokens, but this quickly changed[Notes 3]. (SCC)
  • Dance Rush in the U.S. was divided into "Light," "Standard" and "Premium" credits: light only consists of two songs, standards allows to unlock an Extra Stage, and premium allows users to play one song and record and/or edit a video of themselves playing it with the built-in camera and save it to their e-Amusement account for download. However, Standard is unavailable in the U.S. because of Paseli (even though the game is supported by multiple languages, it still uses the Japanese build as base, rather than the Asian builds, which allow Standard to be played via coin mode for two credits) and Premium is blocked in the U.S. due to concerns surrounding the Internet uploads and a U.S. law regarding online privacy of children (the same reason a lot of services just make it a bannable offense to even admit being under 13). (LC)
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - this game came under fire after hackers discovered a disabled sex minigame known as "Hot Coffee," which led to Jack Thompson to patrol the media with his anti-video gaming theories and facetime from numerous lawmakers, among those Hillary Clinton (who even appeared together with Thompson several times to fight against said game), who proposed legislation for the restriction of sales of certain games. (LC)
  • The Guy Game - this adult-oriented trivia, which featured women on the street during Spring Break having to remove their tops if they answer questions incorrectly, was pulled off the shelves after a 17-year-old girl in the game sued over the use of her likeness in promotion (the fact she was underage did not help matters). The remainder of the game's FMV footage was compiled into a DVD game titled The Guy Game: Game Over, which was sold exclusively on the developer's (now-defunct) website. (LC)
  • Too Human and X-Men: Destiny were banned after it was discovered by a court that Silicon Knights had plagiarized Epic Games' proprietary Unreal engine, using it in these games, along with other unreleased projects. The studio was ordered to recall and destroy all remaining copies, materials, and source code relating to the games. (LC)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - this first-person shooter was in the target of "moral crusaders" due to the "No Russian" level, where the player took the role of an undercover CIA agent with terrorists massacring an entire airport. As someone would expect, said "crusaders" decontextualized the level, claiming that the whole game was a terorrism simulator on the grounds of that level alone. The twist was that, putting the stage into its context is a big spoiler which would make their minds blow: The whole airport massacre was the plan of the real antagonist of the game, US Army General Shepherd, starting his elaborate and manipulative schemes to start a war between the United States and Russia, so that he could instill the full American supremacy upon the world, getting his name down in history as a "false" war hero.
  • Medal of Honor - one installment of this first-person shooter franchise was banned from stores on military bases because it allowed to play as the Taliban. While this is a matter of sensitivity, the player could play for the Nazis in the previous installments.
  • Plants vs. Zombies - This game originally featured a type of zombie that spawned other zombies as backup dancers as it dances towards the player's brains, which originally was designed after Michael Jackson's appearance in Thriller, but was changed to a stereotypical disco dancer after his death. The Dancing Zombie had its description mentioning "any resemblance between Dancing Zombie and persons living or dead is purely concidental.".
  • Wordle - the May 9th 2022 answer of this New York Times-owned puzzle game was originally "FETUS", but the owners changed it midday in order to distance from a then-recently leaked Supreme Court decision on abortion. The Times sent out a notice that they wanted to keep the game "distinct from the news".


  1. Congress mulled creating a censorship board due to the perceived lewdness in films, a series of celebrity scandals (notably Roscoe Arbuckle) and the ensuing media circus rocking Hollywood in the 1920s. Before that, the Mutual Film Corporation v. Industral Commission of Ohio ruling essentially stated that movies were not protected by the First Amendment for lacking artistic merit, while several states and cities set up their own censorship boards. To prevent government censorship, Hollywood decided to self-regulate via the Hays Code, proving to Congress that the movie studios "cleaned up" their act.
  2. http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/regulation-obscenity-indecency-and-profanity)
  1. which are Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land (1931) [probably the least offensive of the 11] – Which is the only black & white short on the list, Sunday Go to Meetin' Time (1936), "Clean Pastures" (1937), Uncle Tom's Bungalow (1937), Jungle Jitters (1938), "The Isle of Pingo Pongo" (1938), All This and Rabbit Stew (1941) – which is the only Bugs Bunny cartoon on the list, Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943), Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943), "Angel Puss" (1944) and "Goldilocks and the Jivin' Bears" (1944)
  2. The U.S. arcade industry is vastly different from the Japanese industry. One major diffrence is that most games are rigidly networked via online platforms with profile card systems and software updates, which are typically tied to revenue-sharing agreements. By contrast, most U.S. arcade games, besides certain titles such as Golden Tee, are not as rigidly networked, if at all, and mostly, arcade cabinets are typically bought or leased from a distributor, rather than as a service.  
  3. (Non-Japanese Asia-Pacific builds have similar changes, even if they still use either cash, U.S.-style tokens or card systems).

External links[]

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