U.K. Kids' Animation Series Embroiled in Islamophobia Controversy

Fireman Sam - H 2016
Credit: Mattel

Viacom's Channel 5 pulled an episode of 'Fireman Sam,' which featured a scene in which a character appears to stands on a page of the Koran, from its streaming service.

In one of the most unlikely TV controversies, producers of a British children's animation series have been forced to apologize after being hit with accusations of Islamophobia.

An episode of Fireman Sam was on Tuesday was removed from the streaming service of Channel 5 – owned by Viacom – after a scene in which a character appears to tread on a page from the Koran was brought to public attention.

The episode first aired in October 2014, but the matter was only recently spotted by the public, leading to condemnation on social media.

"I have no idea what went through the producers's minds when they thought this was a good idea #baffled," tweeted Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain.

In a statement, HIT Entertainment, a subsidiary of Mattel which also owns children's brands including Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder, said: “It has been brought to our attention that in an episode of Fireman Sam an image of the Quran is briefly depicted. The page was intended to show illegible text and we deeply regret this error."

The producers added that they would "no longer" be working with the Chinese animation studio it said was "responsible for this mistake."