Two episodes of the popular cartoon Bluey have been pulled by the ABC’s iView service after receiving a racism complaint.
The two episodes called “Teasing” and “Flat Pack,” used a phrase that some viewers have found offensive: “ooga booga.”
The viewer complaint in June prompted a public apology from the broadcaster for including a phrase that had a “problematic history for Indigenous Australians” and “racial connotations.”
“The ABC sincerely apologised to the complainant for any distress caused by the term used in the episode titled ‘Teasing’.
“The ABC has a strong record for giving voice to Indigenous Australians and an ongoing commitment to helping reduce discrimination and prejudice and in this case, the language used was inadvertent.”
They continued, “The complainant was advised that neither the ABC nor the external producers were aware of the potentially derogatory meaning of the term, which was intended only as irreverent rhyming slang often made up by children.
“The episode was removed from iview as soon as ABC KIDS became aware of the complaint and the ABC undertook to change the dialogue prior to future broadcast or publication.”
What’s so offensive about ‘OOGA BOOGA’?
According to one Bluey fan, the meaning of the word causes hurt among Indigenous people.
“I know to many you just see this word as “caveman speak”, or in the harmless way the writers clearly did too,” the fan shared in a Bluey fan page on Facebook.
“But not everyone sees it that way. Including me. I’m in my 40s, and I well remember a time growing up in Western Sydney where the phrase ‘Ooga Booga/s’ was used conversationally to describe a dark skinned person/s. It was used in social circles, in movies or TV depicting black indigenous people as ‘uncivilised fools,’” they added.
“I personally balked at hearing it used in Teasing, but never said anything because I thought it was maybe just me.”
Fans were surprised when discovering how offensive the term is and said they will be ensuring their children no longer repeat the phrase.
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