Australia Banned A TV Episode Because It Said Spiders Weren't Scary

Illustration for article titled Australia Banned A TV Episode Because It Said Spiders Werent Scary

Some kid's show messages are universal: stranger danger, just say no, don't climb into a tumble dryer, etc. Others are more specific to location. Enter Peppa Pig and the controversial-in-Australia message that "spiders are not to be feared."


Peppa Pig is a children's show from the UK. As so many shows are, it's been exported to other countries. Other countries with different standards.

In 2012, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) received a complaint about the episode "Mister Skinnylegs," saying that it was inappropriate because it told children that "spiders are very, very small and can't hurt you." This is not a message for Australia, home to many dangerous spiders.


Lest you think that the complaint was one person overreacting, the response published by ABC indicated that they'd already made the same determination and the episode had been made available by mistake:

The ABC considered the episode unsuitable for broadcast in Australia and it had been restricted from being aired on the ABC's television networks. However, the episode was accidentally published online due to a technical problem. The ABC apologised to the complainant and advised that the episode was no longer available online. In addition, the ABC undertook to improve internal communication about restricted episodes to ensure the error would not recur.

As hilarious as this is, and as much as it plays into the usual perception of Australia as a death trap full of things that will kill you, it also illustrates how common warnings do have to be tailored for audiences. Growing up in California, for example, the message I encountered was "All spiders except for black widows are not to be feared." This was followed by lessons in how to identify the black widow.

So, Australian readers, do not show your children "Mister Skinnylegs."


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Australian speaking. This is a totally legit reason for people to complain. The spiders here will fuck your shit up. I had a friend who got bitten by a spider (redback I think?) on camp once. It melted all the skin on that part of his cheek. It is now a hideous scar.

Would you want your child's face melted?