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Movie and TV scenes deleted due to controversy

Scenes hit the cutting room floor for many reasons. Filmmakers might catch something in a performance they dislike, or maybe the runtime of the movie or show is at its peak, and something has got to go. However, not every scene is cut for wholly innocent reasons. Sometimes an editor takes one look at something and says, "Well, we absolutely can't put that in there."

Today, we're analyzing scenes in movies and television that had to be cut due to controversy. Some of these scenes were left in the original version that went to theaters or aired on TV, but have since been cut due to some change in the social or political climate that deemed them far more trouble than they're worth. Others never actually made it into the final cut, and were either released later as a bonus feature or have just been discussed by filmmakers. Regardless, tread lightly ... there's controversy coming.

Toy Story 2 and the casting couch controversy

When you work with an ensemble cast as impressive as what Pixar has put together for the Toy Story franchise, it makes sense that you'd want to include content beyond just what the script has to offer. One way the animation studio has managed to do this is by including "blooper reels" at the end of the Toy Story films, where Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang flub their lines, trip over props, and get to throw in a few more one-off jokes.

In early 2019, however, Disney-Pixar decided that one of those little jokes was no longer appropriate.

The joke in question comes from Stinky Pete, the villain of Toy Story 2. Played by Kelsey Grammer, the scene saw his character flirting with two Barbie dolls, asking if they were truly identical and offering them a possible role in Toy Story 3, with the implication being that he'd get "something" in return.

In the wake of #MeToo, the powers that be decided this joke hit a little too close to home, especially considering the controversy surrounding former Pixar CEO John Lasseter. The scene has been cut from all future releases of Toy Story 2.

13 Reasons Why removed its big suicide scene

13 Reasons Why saw controversy right out of the gate. Some praised the show's willingness to open up conversations about subjects like mental illness and suicide, while others claimed the show actually glorified suicide. In fact, one study indicated that teenage suicide actually increased dramatically in the weeks after the show's debut. As Netflix prepared to release the third season of the popular series, they decided to remove one of the lightning rod scenes from the first season, despite it airing almost two years prior.

The scene in question is the moment where Hannah (Katherine Langford) actually commits suicide. Instead of showing the nearly three-minute-long scene, 13 Reasons Why will now cut directly to Hannah's parents reacting to finding her. After the change, Netflix released a statement, saying they consulted with medical experts before deciding to edit the controversial episode. Here's hoping their decision will help teenage audience members going forward.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Friends changed an episode after 9/11

Before 9/11, lots of movies and shows made jokes about bombs on airplanes. However, an episode of Friends was one of the few that had to go through some last minute changes after the events of that tragic day. A last-minute editing frenzy significantly changed the episode "The One Where Rachel Tells Ross," the third episode of season eight, which was supposed to air about a month after the terrorist attack.

A central plot of that episode involves Chandler and Monica going on their honeymoon, only to watch another honeymooning couple get every perk just ahead of them. The other couple is upgraded to first class on the plane, then upgraded to a nicer suite at the hotel on arrival. But according to Insider, Chandler and Monica were never even supposed to reach the hotel. Originally, Chandler was supposed to make a joke about bombs in the airport, causing them to miss the flight entirely. When they're finally released from the interrogation room, Monica would then yell at Joey and Phoebe on the phone, causing them to be detained again.

Of course, those bits were cut after 9/11, and the sections with the other couple were added to keep the "catastrophic honeymoon" plot alive.

Bird Box cut footage of a real-life disaster

Bird Box, a Netflix film based on the novel of the same name, tells the story of creatures who drive anyone who sees them violently insane. Before the world can even adjust and fight back, it's basically too late. Civilization comes crashing down around our characters, and they're essentially left in survival mode. However, when depicting the catastrophes occurring around the world, the filmmakers carelessly put in a scene that had to be later removed

At one point in the original version, a news program is showing a variety of disasters around the world: plane crashes, train wrecks, etc. Instead of shooting their own scenes of these disasters (or just letting the audience hear the reporter talking about them), the filmmakers used footage of a real-life train crash: the Lac-Mégantic disaster of 2013, which killed 47 people.

Needless to say, the complaints came in swift, especially from the community affected by the real-world crash. The filmmakers eventually replaced the scene, but really, this controversy could've (and should've) been avoided in the first place.

The Predator had to delete a truly creepy scene

When scenes get cut from movies and shows because of real-world events, it usually comes from the scene being too close for comfort to some actual tragedy. But sometimes, the scene in question has nothing to do with international catastrophes. Instead, maybe the filmmaker or studio were just so skeeved out by a scene that they gave it the ax. Such was the case with one moment in The Predator.

The scene in question involved two actors: Olivia Munn and Steven Wilder Striegel. Munn initially filed a complaint with 20th Century Fox after shooting a scene where Striegel hits on her character. So what was the problem? Well, Munn later discovered that Striegel was a registered sex offender, and that no one on the film had been told. Striegel had spent six months in prison for attempting to lure a 14-year-old into a sexual relationship over the internet.

The scene was cut, and director Shane Black (who knew about Striegel's conviction) apologized, claiming that he merely gave Striegel the role to help him get his life back on track. Black also claimed he didn't realize the extent of the criminal charges, saying he'd been misled about Striegel's crimes. However, Striegel argues that point, saying that Black was well aware. Either way, the predator was cut out of The Predator.

Deadpool 2 and the baby Hitler controversy

You'd think a character like Deadpool would be immune to controversy. After all, the character is so over the top that you can pretty much write off anything he says or does. However, Deadpool 2 did wind up cutting a controversial scene, a moment that plays with one of those great morality questions that many time travel stories wrestle with.

At the end of the film, Deadpool travels through the past, righting a few wrongs (like murdering Ryan Reynolds before he can portray Green Lantern). But things got dark during test screenings of the film, where the post-credit scenes featured Deadpool meeting the infant Adolf Hitler. He wrestles with what he should do, and then reaches into the crib as the scene cuts to black.

Yeah, it's pretty grim, and the scene was cut for obvious reasons. However, in the home release of the extended "Super Duper Cut," it's revealed that Deadpool merely picks baby Adolf up, decides to be nice to him, and changes his diaper. However, Deadpool doesn't plan on leaving Hitler alive for long, as he promises that he'll come back soon with his child-murdering buddy, Cable. After all, as Deadpool puts it, "He has a real way with kids."

Considering the plot of Deadpool 2 and how it's all about why murdering children is a bad idea, we're glad they decided to delete this scene.

A deleted scene from Sex and the City was just too much

Sex and the City was a shocking, provocative show for its time, and it regularly pushed the limits for what people were comfortable watching when it aired from 1998 to 2004. Sometimes, HBO even had to step in and cut scenes that they weren't so sure about. For example, take a crazy scene from the season one episode "The Monogamists."

Vanity Fair writes that the scene was a culmination of a storyline involving Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and the man she's dating who frequently wants her to do something, uh, very specific. Eventually, she gets fed up with it (and weirded out by the man's dog, who's always watching it happen), and she eventually storms out of his apartment. However, she has a change of heart, walks back in, and sees that the dog has, uh, taken her place.

And yeah, HBO cut the scene. After all, it went too doggone far.

Batman v Superman saw an even darker Dark Knight

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice courted a lot of controversy for its depiction of Batman. Many longtime fans felt that the Caped Crusader was depicted a bit too violently in the film. Sure, Batman always let his fists do most of the talking, but some thought that BvS violated the core spirit of the character. After all, Batman shouldn't kill. That's always been a thin line to tread for the character, but a scene that didn't make it into the film probably would've caused even more dismay.

The scene in question involves the big warehouse fight scene. ScreenRant spoke with Batman v Superman's stunt coordinator Damon Caro about the controversial moment, and according to the stuntman, Batman was going to use a criminal as a literal human shield. However, the scene wasn't cut because of controversy. Instead, it was scrapped because it just didn't flow with the timing of the scene. But honestly, we're glad the sequence was abandoned because the idea of Batman holding somebody in front of him to be shot repeatedly doesn't really fit with the spirit of the character.

Ocean's Eleven was worried about 9/11 backlash

Ocean's Eleven was a pretty lighthearted romp, considering it dealt with a massive heist. However, in the wake of 9/11, filmmakers were sent scrambling to edit out a scene they thought might hit a bit too close to home. It wasn't any specific line or direct reference. Instead, it was a sequence that looked too similar to the horrible events that had just transpired.

According to The Mirror, the scene in question comes while characters watch a Vegas hotel-casino being demolished. Originally, that hotel was the real-world New York, New York Hotel on the Vegas strip. But when the filmmakers took the scene back to the editing room, it bothered them to watch a facade of the New York skyline going down in flames so soon after the infamous terrorist attack.

In the cut that made theaters, the New York, New York Hotel's look was digitally altered, and the name was changed to a nonexistent hotel, Xanadu.

It featured Pennywise eating a baby

An immortal, homicidal clown that stalks and murders children seems like the type of "anything goes" scenario where nothing would be too controversial. However, all sorts of scenes that made the book version of It were never touched for the film. Plus, there was reportedly one extremely violent, disturbing scene in the screenplay that couldn't make its way into the final cut.

The scene has been hinted at in multiple places, and Bloody Disgusting has a pretty good rundown of the entire scenario. It sounds like the scene in question was fully in the script, and at least part of it was shot. So what exactly went down in the controversial streets of Derry?

Well, the setting is the 1600s, before the titular entity has really settled on Pennywise as its main avatar. As he struggles to find a form, he tortures a woman and her child. Through creative camera work and quick cuts, we hear Pennywise actually eat a baby, and the script is full of descriptions like "a sharp cry" and "crunch."

Ugh. No thanks.

A Fantasia character has been deleted for decades

For being such a family-friendly institution, Disney's got a few skeletons hidden away in its closet, and some of those secrets are of the racist variety. For example, take a couple of characters who once appeared in Fantasia: Sunflower and Otika.

In the "Pastoral Symphony" segment, which features all sorts of mythological creatures, Sunflower and Otika are centaurs. Immediately after seeing them, you realize that they're just racist caricatures of black people. Even worse, it seems that Sunflower's purpose is to wait on and serve the other (white) centaurs. She shines their hooves, decorates their manes with flowers, and rolls out the red carpet so the other centaurs can move on with their party.

It's an all-around bad look, and Disney actually removed Sunflower and Otika and all references to them from 1969 onward. There are still prints floating around out there for purchase but, otherwise, Disney has tried to remove any evidence of these characters.

Holiday Inn sometimes airs without its controversial 'tribute' to Abraham Lincoln

This one is extra strange because the scene in question isn't always removed. It just depends how you watch the film. And the film we're talking about is Holiday Inn, a Christmas movie from 1942, starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby as a song and dance duo who perform at a nightclub that's only open on holidays. One of the holidays is Abraham Lincoln's birthday, and the crew performs an "interesting" musical number in his honor.

It involves Bing Crosby dancing around in blackface.

Since then, different versions of the film have been aired on TV. And while AMC cuts the "Abraham" musical number when they play Holiday Inn, TMC doesn't. Considering how long the film has been around, it's understandable that the filmmakers aren't going to go back and rerelease a new version of Holiday Inn without the "Abraham" portion, but it's an interesting idea to see if networks should or shouldn't engage in this type of censorship when it comes to offensive, outdated material.