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Disney XD Mysteriously Pulls a Pokémon Episode From the Schedule

Except the reason is not actually that mysterious.

Ash Ketchum stands in front of three lemur-like Pokémon. He is dressed like the Pokémon and wears black facepaint resembling their markings.
A still from the Sun and Moon episode.
The Pokémon Company

An episode of the English dub of Pokémon Sun and Moon has been pulled from the Disney XD lineup without an immediate explanation. Polygon reports that the 64th episode of Sun and Moon, which was set to air next week, was quietly removed from the schedule, leading fans to speculate whether a plot point involving Ash, the series’ main character, painting his face black is the cause.

The episode in question, which aired in Japan earlier this year, follows Ash and his friends as they meet a group of lemur-like Pokémon called Passimian that are terrorizing a nearby town. In an effort to ease tensions, Ash dresses in a costume resembling the Pokémon, complete with black makeup, in hopes of gaining their trust.

This would not be the first time an episode of Pokémon was pulled over a race-related issue. Two prior episodes of the series that weren’t aired in the U.S. prominently featured the Pokémon Jynx, whose black skin and large exaggerated features many recognized as reminiscent of minstrelsy, the tradition of white actors painting their skin black to mock people of African descent. The Pokémon’s appearance has since been updated so that its skin is purple.

Since neither Disney XD nor the Pokémon Company have commented on the story, there’s still a chance that the episode was pulled for some other reason—or that it will air at some point in the future.