Netflix recently removed an episode of Maya the Bee, an animated children’s series intended for viewers ages 3–7, after a parent noticed a large penis scratched into a hollow log in the background of one of its scenes.
How a penis popped up in Maya the Bee
The scene appeared in Season 1, Episode 35. In a Facebook post, a mother named Chey Robinson wrote:
Please be mindful of what your kids are watching. I did NOT edit any images whatsoever, this is ‘Maya the Bee,’ Season 1, Episode 35. I know I’m not going crazy and I know that something like this shouldn’t be in a kids’ show whatsoever.
I’m extremely disgusted by it, there should be no reason my kids have to see something like this. I don’t know if they’re gonna do something about this or what, but there’s no reasons why this should be in this show.
— Ariel Wray (@ArielWray) September 15, 2017
How long has a penis been in the Maya the Bee cartoon?
Maya the Bee actually began as a 1912 German children’s comic that was later turned into a 1924 animated film, a 1976 Japanese anime series and then Studio 100’s 2012 TV series with a 2014 film, all of the same name.
The series is not actually created by Netflix. Rather, it was created by a company called Studio 100 Animation and Netflix simply distributes it.
The penis may have been added by a disgruntled animator or included as a crude joke that simply didn’t get caught by supervisors. Either way, seeing as Netflix is streaming the 2012 TV series, it’s entirely possible that the penis has been in the episode for half a decade with no one noticing until now.
Sexual content in children’s cartoons pops up in various forms
This isn’t the first time parents have freaked out over alleged sexual content in kids cartoons. Most times one wonders whether adults have deliberately sought out the content — like when parents saw a penis in King Triton’s castle in Disney’s The Little Mermaid or saw the word “SEX” written in Disney’s The Lion King and Tangled. But the penis in Maya the Bee was undoubtedly there.
More often, sexual content in children’s cartoons is more suggestive and usually involves innuendo and wordplay.
Numerous media outlets have reached out to Netflix and Studio 100 for comment. We will update this post if they respond.