ABC to assess complaint over Horrible Histories

Complaints over a 2015 Horrible Histories episode on ABC will be assessed by ABC’s Audience and Consumer Affairs division.

The British-produced series features an “eighth century” mock version of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, tucker trials.

Last week a Season 6 episode featured an actor of Chinese-Scottish background dressed as Chinese Empress Wu Zetian in the 7th Century AD. After explaining that Empress Wu murdered a lot of people to take power, the two hosts ask if the Empress can “cope with” eating some of the common foods of the era: rats, cockroaches, and jellyfish among other things.

But it has led to a petition pushing for ABC to drop the series, with over 1700 signatures.

“I hope that ABC could take down the Horrible Histories TV series, especially the series 6,” said Say Leng Kapsis, the president of Fair Go SA, a not-for-profit organisation providing anti-racism services for Chinese Australians since the coronavirus pandemic.

“We just think that is really culturally inappropriate.”

ABC declined to comment.

Source: ABC

6 Comments:

  1. Honestly. It saddens me to see things like this being blown out of proportion, when then are so many other injustices in the world that need support – Why not channel that energy there ?

  2. The commenters in this section are obviously clueless about what is going on.

    The main problem is not that the show is culturally inappropriate. If 7th century Chinese diet really did consist of cockroaches and human hair, while the women wore qipao, then ABC is free to air the content. However, the fact is that 7th century Chinese diet did not consist of cockroaches and human hair, and the women did not wear qipao because it only came into fashion in the 16th century. In other words, the show’s content is historically inaccurate, it is false information. And this false information, when aired to the public, is fueling and perpetuating the existing racial stereotype and racism that Chinese people eat disgusting food and are dirty.

    So that’s the problem! And judging from the comments here, the damage is already being done, because the commenters already believe the false…

    • The show is not an educational tool nor is it intended to be historically accurate. It’s a sketch comedy aimed at young audiences that is only superficially inspired by real-world figures/events. Stereotypes, anachronisms, and historical inaccuracies are used to comic effect (and by countless other comedies). Perhaps the producers intended to appeal to the inquisitiveness of children so that they may wish to learn more about the real-world persons/events/periods being alluded to on the show. It is obviously not piece of peer-reviewed research intended to be taken in the least bit seriously, and I feel I am being needlessly condescending by even pointing that out. Clueless indeed.

  3. “We just think that is really culturally inappropriate” to mention 7th century China and their eating habits, etc. God forbid we mention indigenous Australian’s eating habits or the eating habits of every other culture of the time. Wait ’til they get to the Tianamen Square episode. “We just think that is really culturally inappropriate” that China rewrites history.

  4. Once again a illustration of people who need to build a bridge. This is a children’s show not matter what the person’s background is it seems someone would complain. it should be put in context and not band. ABC you have full support of reshowing it.

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