Upon receiving a racism complaint, two episodes of the famous Bluey cartoon were removed by the ABC’s iView service.
Bluey is a seven minute cartoon about a family of suburban Blue Heeler dogs.
A phrase is used in two episodes called “Teasing” and “Flat Pack” which some viewers found offensive: “ooga booga.”
The viewer outrage prompted a broadcaster public apology for delivering a sentence that had “problematic history for Indigenous Australians” and “racial connotations.”
There are differing opinions on what “ooga booga” actually means.
Urban Dictionary, a popular slang website, refers to it as a form of “caveman” greeting, while the Macquarie Dictionary describes it as a derogatory noun for the language used by “African savages.”
“The ABC sincerely apologised to the complainant for any distress caused by the term used in the episode titled ‘Teasing’,” the broadcaster wrote on its website.
“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.
“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 two episodes in question have been deleted from iView and reworked to modify the dialogue and delete the offending sentence.