The new Animaniacs has found itself in the middle of a bit of controversy and it involves a seemingly fake phone number that turned out to be very real and connected to a sex hotline.
In the sixth episode of the Hulu rebooted series, Brain can be seen featured in a television commercial to promote his plan for world domination. A phone number to reach the cartoon mouse is displayed in the ad and when viewers began dialing the number, they were shocked to find that the number was legitimate and connected to an adult entertainment service. You can check out a picture of the moment the number is featured in the episode below:
It wasn’t long before the sex hotline Easter egg became quite the topic on Twitter and this eventually was noticed by Warner Bros, which led to the studio promptly removing the episode from the streaming service so that the number could be edited out. It was then replaced with a new version of the episode which features all of the text in the scene completely removed. Since Animaniacs is known for its more adult references in past episodes, many fans believe this number being included was no accident and I’m inclined to believe that notion. What does surprise me is that so many people actually tried to dial the number but it is pretty funny that this was the surprise they were greeted with when they actually got connected on the line.
UPDATE: The episode is back, but instead of changing the phone number, the entire text has been removed, making this part of the scene confusing to first time viewers. https://t.co/FOzFnBetIp pic.twitter.com/SHwDgMDgMN
— Animated+ (@animatedplus) November 24, 2020
The sex hotline controversy isn’t the first that has come across the very new rebooted series. There were several fan complaints after an episode poked fun at Johnny Depp. A movie poster can be seen in the background for a movie called “Johnny 2: Telling Lies.” The poster features his full name and the actor holding a pair of scissors. Fans thought the joke was in poor taste given Depp’s recent legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard and they believed the show was making light of domestic abuse. The episode wasn’t pulled but voice actor Rob Paulsen cleared the air by explaining that the Depp reference was not about the actor’s issues with Heard. Paulsen said the joke stems from a nursery rhyme with a father asking a son if he’s “telling lies” after catching the boy eating sugar. The episode was also written and animated in 2018 which is before Depp’s legal battle with Heard began dominating the news.
I guess a little controversy never hurts a show that’s trying to find a new life and a new audience. Reviews for the reboot have been mostly positive and most fans seem to be enjoying the new Animaniacs. The fact that these controversies are being noticed means that people are watching and Hulu has to be happy with that result.
What are your thoughts on the Animaniacs controversy? Should the number have been edited out?