A virus-themed “SpongeBob SquarePants” episode has been pulled amid the coronavirus pandemic, while another was taken off the air because the storyline was not appropriate for children, a Nickelodeon representative told NBC News on Wednesday.
“Kwarantined Crab” is not airing “due to sensitivities surrounding the global, real-world pandemic,” Nickelodeon’s executive vice president of communications David Bittler said.
The season 12 episode is set at the Krusty Krab, the fast-food restaurant where SpongeBob works. A health inspector tells employees and patrons that someone there has the “Clam Flu” and quarantines everyone inside, sparking panic.
Another episode, season 3’s “Mid-Life Crustacean,” has not aired since 2018 “following a standards review in which we determined some story elements were not kid-appropriate,” Bittler said.
In that episode, SpongeBob’s boss, Mr. Krabs, is feeling old and wants a night out with SpongeBob and his best friend Patrick. The odd night concludes with the trio breaking into a woman’s house and stealing her underwear. The three are quickly caught by their mark — who turns out to be Mr. Krabs’ mom.
The first 12 seasons of the show recently started streaming with other classic Nickelodeon shows when ViacomCBS rebranded its streaming platform to Paramount+. The inclusion of the 1999 kid’s show, which was arguably written to also appeal to adults, was highlighted in the ad campaign for Paramount+.
Amazon Video, which carries seasons 1-6, has also dropped “Mid-Life Crustacean.”
News of the two episodes being pulled follow other recent children’s content being revisited and deemed offensive.
Six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published because of racist and insensitive imagery Dr. Seuss Enterprises said earlier this month.
In “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” a white man is shown using a whip on a man of color. In “If I Ran the Zoo,” a white boy holds a large gun while standing on the heads of three Asian men. “If I Ran the Zoo” also features two men from Africa who are shirtless, shoeless and wearing grass skirts while holding an exotic animal.
And earlier this week, Scholastic announced its decision to pull “Captain Underpants” author Dav Pilkey’s 2010 graphic novel “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future” due to its perpetuation of “passive racism.”