Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot has found itself in the midst of another controversy, this time for inadvertently displaying the phone number for a sex hotline. In the sixth episode of the rebooted series, Brain can be seen featured in a television commercial to promote his plan for planet domination. A phone number to reach the cartoon mouse was displayed in the ad, and when viewers dialed the number, many were surprised to find that it was legitimate… and it connected them to an adult entertainment service.
Of course, once fans began speaking about the sex hotline Easter egg on social media, Warner Bros. caught wind of the Hulu flub. The episode was then promptly removed from the streaming service so it can be edited. It was replaced with a new version of the episode, this time featuring all of the text in the scene completely removed. Of course, given the adult references that Animaniacs was known for sneaking in with its classic episodes, some fans feel that this is perfectly on par for the brand.
“‘Fake phone number in Animaniacs episode is actually real and goes to a sex hotline’ is so very Animaniacs it’s honestly beautiful,” one fan puts it on Twitter.
“Okay but the Animaniacs reboot episode being pulled because they put in the number of a sex hotline is so f***ing funny bc u KNOW a team checks to make sure it was fine and they knew what it was and it slipped by executives….. I love it,” tweets another.
The sex hotline controversy comes along with fan complaints that the new Animaniacs was poking fun at Johnny Depp. In another episode, a movie poster can be seen in the background for a movie called Johnny 2: Telling Lies. Featuring his full name, the poster also shows Depp holding a pair of scissors. Given his recent legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard, many fans cried foul over the Easter egg, accusing the Animaniacs team of making light of domestic abuse and implying Depp to be lying about his allegations that Heard has physically abused him.
In that case, voice actor Rob Paulsen cleared the air by explaining that the Depp reference was not referring to his issues with Heard. The joke actually stems from a nursery rhyme with a father asking his son if he’s “telling lies” after catching the boy eating sugar. The episode was also written and animated in 2018, before the highly-publicized legal battle between Depp and Heard began dominating the news. Still, many fans felt that the reference still should have been removed, given the unintentional implication that Depp is a liar.
Perhaps it’s gotten off to a bit of a rough start with multiple controversies, but the good news is that the reviews are mostly positive with fans largely enjoying the new Animaniacs. As many fans have also mentioned, controversy is also nothing new for the classic cartoon. You can watch the reboot series now on Hulu with a second season coming to the streamer sometime in 2021.