Anger over a cartoon in the United Kingdom has forced toy giant Mattel to apologize to Muslim viewers.
A recent episode of “Fireman Sam” featured a scene where a clumsily character known as Elvis trips while entering a room. The character knocks over a stack of papers, one of which appears to include a verse from the Koran. The episode will no longer appear on television, and ties with the animation studio responsible will be severed.
“It’s just an unfortunate incident where someone from the production company thought they were just putting in random text,” Mattel said in a statement, BBC reported Wednesday. “We have no reason to believe it was done maliciously. The page was intended to show illegible text, and we deeply regret this error. We sincerely apologize for any distress or offense it may have caused. We will no longer be working with the animation studio responsible for this mistake. […] Again, we apologize unreservedly to our viewers.”
The episode was first broadcast in October 2014 without incident, but the verse was just recently spotted when it aired again on Viacom-owned Channel 5 in the U.K.
“I have no idea what went through the producers’ minds when they thought this was a good idea #baffled,” tweeted Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, on Tuesday.
Mr. Versi said the verse in question is “Surah Mulk (67), verses 13-26.”
BBC said it received roughly 1,000 complaints about the episode. The network did broadcast another version of “Fireman Sam” from the 1980s until 2008, but newer versions air on Channel 5.
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