From Scrubs and 30 Rock to Little Britain, the past several months have seen a number of series creators, producers, and streaming service shows removing past episodes (or "retiring" them) over the use of blackface or other instances of cultural insensitivity. But on Tuesday, viewers were reminded that it's not just the live-action series that feel like they have to do a little clean-up. The Daily Beast is reporting that Adult Swim has "permanently retired" several series' episodes "due to cultural sensitivities," including episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and The Boondocks. "When Adult Swim transitions series to a new platform, we determine what episodes are selected through creative and cultural filters and our standards and practices policies," the late-night animated block on Cartoon Network explained. "Oftentimes these decisions are made in collaboration with the show's creators."
The story began on Reddit when a user noted that Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Shake Like Me" and The Boondocks episode "The Story of Jimmy Rebel" were either missing or were quickly taken off of WarnerMedia's streaming service HBO Max. In "Shake Like Me" (a reference to the John Howard Griffin book Black Like Me), Shake "learns what it's like to be a stereotype" after being bitten by a radioactive Black man (based on the show's IMDB episode description). In the site's description of "The Story of Jimmy Rebel," Ruckus "finds his musical soul mate in famed racist country-western singer Jimmy Rebel." The episodes were not part of the original licensing deal agreed upon between HBO Max and Adult Swim. In addition, stop-motion animated series The Shivering Truth had the episode "Ogled Inklings" taken down ("temporarily rested") from the streamer for reasons listed as "sensitivity around current events," though an HBO Max spokesperson says the episode will "be returning to the site and included when the series debuts on" the streaming service.