An episode of The Simpsons that aired in the USA not too long ago contained a very blatant reference to the Pokemon GO mobile game. However, one country in particular is not pleased about the episode, and it has resulted in a refusal to air the episode there. Russian TV station 2×2, which airs The Simpsons, cancelled their airing of the episode, which is called “Looking For Mr Goodbart”. The reasoning they gave is that they say the episode “could compromise the network and cause controversy”.
The criticism is related to a scene in the episode where Homer Simpson heads into a church to search for “Peekimons” for his mobile game “Peekimon Get”. This is controversal in Russia because of similarities to an incident in September 2016 where a Russian blogger, Ruslan Sokolovsky, was arrested for playing Pokemon Go in a St. Petersburg church. Sokolovsky’s trial, based on charges of “insulting the feelings of believers”, is currently ongoing. He could face a potential 3-5 year prison sentence. Because of this, the majority of the criticism directed towards the episode came from church officials, including archpriest Andrei Novikov and officials from the Russian Orthodox Church, whom were quoted by Russian news agency TASS. This criticism is what ultimately led 2×2 to refuse airing the episode.
If you want to see the Pokemon GO spoof for yourself, we’ve included the video for you down below.