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According to Slate, Disney XD has pulled a single episode of Pokémon from its scheduled air date without explanation. Fans have speculated that the episode in question “Touchdown of Friendship” might have to do with a plot point where a character disguises themselves with face paint.

What’s happening:

  • Disney XD has pulled an episode of Pokémon from its originally scheduled air date. The episode “Touchdown of Friendship” was set to premiere next week, but has since been removed from the schedule without explanation.
  • Slate reports that fan speculation for the mysterious removal has to do with the central character, Ash painting his face black.
  • The main storyline for this episode sees Ash and his friends meeting a group of lemur-like Pokémon creatures called Passimian. The Passimian are causing trouble in a nearby town and Ash decides to see what he can do about that. Ash dresses like the Passimian and goes so far as to paint his face black to blend in and earn their trust.

  • Supposedly this isn’t the first time that a Pokémon episode has been pulled in the U.S. over race insensitivity. Two prior episodes featured the Pokémon Jynx, with black skin and exaggerated features that were reminiscent of white actors painting their skin to mock people of African descent. The Pokémon’s appearance has been updated to feature purple skin instead of black.
  • Neither Disney XD or the Pokémon company has commented on the reasons for the removal of the episode.

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