With the launch of Disney+ has come a slew of new issues (and no, not just the technical issues on launch day.) Older Disney animated classics and specials have had warnings added for “outdated cultural depictions” and now, it appears even more modern Disney Channel shows are seeing a wave of unexpected censorship.
The fan-favorite award-winning “Gravity Falls” series, which first aired on Disney Channel and Disney XD from 2012 to 2016, is now fully available on Disney+. All two seasons and 40 episodes track the misadventures of Dipper Pines and his twin sister Mabel, who are sent to spend the summer with their great-uncle “Grunkle” Stan in Gravity Falls, Oregon, a mysterious town full of paranormal forces and supernatural creatures. The kids help Stan run “The Mystery Shack”, the tourist trap which he owns, while also investigating the local mysteries. The wacky series is well-loved for being entertaining to fans of all ages, featuring guest voice actors like Neil deGrasse Tyson, who voices Mabel’s pig Waddles on a few episodes when he gains ultra-intelligence. For hardcore fans, the series also contains a series of fun puzzles and codes creatively embedded throughout by the show’s creators.
As part of Grunkle Stan’s character design, he wears a fez with a symbol on it that looks like a Pac-Man fish. The symbol, which changed over the span of the series, was removed completely for Disney+ audiences.
Lolll the symbol is still in the intro to every episode (PSSST- apparently Disney doesn’t know about the subliminal messages-no one tell them!) pic.twitter.com/FcG5iT5zwx
— Alex Hirsch (@_AlexHirsch) November 15, 2019
They really did
They even took it out of the theme song
— Chillguy / 🎂 11/18 / COMMISSIONS OPEN (@Chillguydraws) November 15, 2019
The symbol was removed throughout most of the episodes, including the opening intro. Interestingly enough, it was not removed from the thumbnails for each episode. According to show cannon, the symbol was representational of a Masonic-like group Grunkle Stan was a part of, called the Royal Order of the Holy Mackerel, however other reports claim that the fictional sign resembled Islamic iconography and Masonry all too closely, which is why the decision was made to have it removed.
In any case, fans of the beloved “Gravity Falls” series will wonder where the symbol has gone, and the creators are clearly upset over the decision to alter these beloved characters.