Fox has pulled a recent episode of Family Guy from Fox.com and Hulu after scenes were altered to portray Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon.
The episode, titled “Turban Cowboy,” originally aired on March 17, but it was taken down Tuesday, the network confirmed. Scenes from the episode had been combined to show Peter Griffin running over a group of athletes and inadvertently using his cell phone to cause explosions in order to win a race.
“The edited Family Guy clip currently circulating is abhorrent,” creator Seth MacFarlane wrote on Twitter. “The event was a crime and a tragedy, and my thoughts are with the victims.”
The network wouldn’t comment any further on the episode, which is still available in several different versions elsewhere on the web.
In the wake of a tragedy, networks often shuffle their programming or pull episodes to avoid airing sensitive material. After the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, episodes of Family Guy and American Dad, which was also created by MacFarlane, were postponed by a week because of their content. They were originally scheduled to air December 16, just two days after the shooting.
The Family Guy episode, titled “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!,” was a “retelling” of the Christmas story and featured a scene in which King Herod is traveling to see the Messiah and decides to protect his title and win the love of Jodie Foster by killing the baby Jesus. The scene was in reference to John Hinckley, who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan in order to impress Foster, whom he became obsessed with due to her role as a child prostitute in the 1976 film Taxi Driver.
The American Dad episode “Minstrel Krampus” was also scheduled to air the same day but was pulled indefinitely along with an episode of Haven that depicted a high school shooting. SyFy said at the time that no decision had been made as to when the episode would air, but it seems the episode won’t be broadcast anytime soon. The network aired an animated holiday episode of Eureka in its place.
The bombing at the Boston Marathon Monday claimed the lives of three people including 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and 8-year-old Martin Richard. Over 100 people were injured when two bombs went off 12 second apart near the finish line of the marathon around 2:50 pm. Currently, there are no suspects, although it was initially reported that a Saudi national was being held in custody at Massachusetts General Hospital. It was later reported, however, that the man was cooperating as a witness.
Do you think Fox did the right thing by pulling the Family Guy episode?