The ABC has pulled two episodes of Bluey from its streaming service over concerns there is a racist phrase featured.
Australia’s national broadcaster has confirmed that ‘Teasing’ and ‘Flat Pack’ have been removed because of the use of ‘ooga booga’.
The term was introduced as a nickname given to Bandit by Bluey and Bingo, however there are worries that it could offend Aboriginal people.
The ABC said the term has ‘racial connotations and a problematic history for Indigenous Australians’ and have decided to temporarily dump the two episodes.
A statement from the broadcaster said: “The ABC sincerely apologised to the complainant for any distress caused by the term used in the episode titled ‘Teasing’.
“The ABC has a strong record for giving voice to Indigenous Australians and an ongoing commitment to helping reduce discrimination and prejudice and in this case, the language used was inadvertent.
“The complainant was advised that neither the ABC nor the external producers were aware of the potentially derogatory meaning of the term, which was intended only as irreverent rhyming slang often made up by children.
“The episode was removed from iview as soon as ABC KIDS became aware of the complaint and the ABC undertook to change the dialogue prior to future broadcast or publication.”
According to Macquarie Dictionary, the phrase ‘ooga booga’ is a ‘stereotypical rendering of what the speaker regards to be the language of those deemed by them to be African savages’. So you can see why it can cause upset with some people.
After it was announced on social media that the episodes would be pulled, the reaction was mixed.
Some people were confused why the ABC would remove the phrase while others praise the broadcaster for educating them on what they should avoid saying.
One person said: “Learn something every day, banning this word in our house now! Well done to OP/ABC/Bluey team for standing up and doing something about casual racism and educating us.”
Another added: “Oh dear god my children say it all the time thanks to show! I honestly believe, once you know, you do better!”
But fans of the two episodes need not worry about them being gone forever.
Producers have been working on rewording the script so that it becomes unproblematic. ‘Flat Pack’ has been re-uploaded to iView and ‘Teasing’ is expected to come back next month.