An episode of sitcom Fawlty Towers has been taken off UKTV’s streaming service because it contains “racial slurs”.
The BBC-owned platform said it had made The Germans unavailable while it carries out a review.
In the 1975 episode, Basil Fawlty declares “don’t mention the war” around German guests, while the Major uses highly offensive language about the West Indies cricket team.
Actor and creator John Cleese described the move as “stupid”.
Speaking to The Age newspaper, he said the episode was clearly a critique of racist attitudes.
“One of the things I’ve learned in the last 180 years is that people have very different senses of humour,” he said.
“Some of them understand that if you put nonsense words into the mouth of someone you want to make fun of, you’re not broadcasting their views, you’re making fun of them.”
UKTV also operates channels including Gold, and a spokesman said: “UKTV has temporarily removed an episode of Fawlty Towers The Germans from Gold’s Box Set.
“The episode contains racial slurs so we are taking the episode down while we review it. We regularly review older content to ensure it meets audience expectations and are particularly aware of the impact of outdated language.
“Some shows carry warnings and others are edited. We want to take time to consider our options for this episode.”
The BBC’s commercial arm BBC Studios took over many of UKTV’s channels and its digital player last year.
The Germans is still available to view on Britbox, which is part-owned by the BBC, with a message saying it “contains some offensive racial language of the time and upsetting scenes”. It is also on Netflix, carrying a warning about “language, [and] discrimination”.
This week, many channels and comedy figures have been making moves to reassess what is acceptable in today’s society, following mass Black Lives Matter protests after the death of George Floyd.
HBO Max temporarily removed Gone With The Wind because of its “racial depictions”, and Little Britain was removed from the BBC iPlayer and Britbox because “times have changed”.
Netflix has also removed Little Britain plus David Walliams and Matt Lucas’s Come Fly With Me, and The League of Gentlemen and The Mighty Boosh.
Meanwhile, Ant and Dec apologised for impersonating “people of colour” on Saturday Night Takeaway, and requested ITV remove the 2003 and 2004 sketches from its catch-up service.
Last week, comedian Leigh Francis issued an emotional apology for having dressed as black celebrities in the noughties impression show Bo’ Selecta.