The BBC has decided to remove a beheading scene from an upcoming episode of “Doctor Who” after American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff were decapitated by the militant Islamic State group ISIS in recent weeks.
“In light of recent news events,” said a BBC spokesperson, “we have made an edit to episode three out of respect.”
According to Variety, the "Doctor Who" episode titled “Robot of Sherwood,” which was filmed in February and set to air this Saturday, featured a fight scene between the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood that ended in a beheading.
Improbably, “Doctor Who” was not the only pop cultural product to involve beheading this week. On Tuesday, Fox apologized for a “Sleepy Hollow” promotion that celebrated “National Beheading Day” in conjunction with its DVD release of the first season of the show.
This isn't the first time a horrible real-life event was reflected in unfortunately timed entertainment content. When the nation was gripped by the news out of Florida in February 2012 that unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin was shot to death by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman named George Zimmerman, Fox removed their first teaser poster and trailer from Florida theaters for the space alien comedy “Neighborhood Watch” that was slated for a July 27 release. The poster and trailer were removed, said a Fox spokesperson in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, even though the “alien-invasion comedy … bears absolutely no relation to the tragic events in Florida.” The teaser poster depicted the silhouette of an alien on a neighborhood watch street sign riddled with bullet holes. The film’s title was eventually changed to “The Watch.”
More recently, the Australian film poster for the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie was removed from the film’s marketing website after outraged commenters took to Twitter and elsewhere to point out that the film’s Sept. 11 opening date made the poster’s imagery of all four turtles falling out of a burning building in bad taste. As one commenter tweeted, “Prepare to gasp at the most poorly judged poster and date combo imaginable.”
In response, Paramount Pictures Australia issued an apology in an email to Reuters. "We are deeply sorry to have used that artwork for the marketing materials promoting the September 11 opening in Australia," the email said. "Combining that image and date was a mistake. We intended no offence and have taken immediate action to discontinue its use."
Journalist Steven Sotloff’s funeral took place Friday afternoon in South Florida.