Seven Network claims that the airing of “Family Guy” episode that poked fun at Robin Williams hours after the actor was found dead was just a “coincidence.”
The network was accused of being insensitive after it aired an episode of the U.S. animated series featuring Williams on Tuesday night.
Williams was found dead on Monday in his home around noon local California time, with the news of his tragic passing was quickly disseminated to the media.
Fourteen hours later, the network aired the networks’ 7Mate aired an episode of “Family Guy,” which features a scene with Williams.
The episode titled “Big Man on Hippocampus” sees Peter Griffin losing his memory after being knocked out. There’s one scene in the episode where Stewie Griffin accuses the family of pretending he doesn’t exist like “Robin Williams’ agent pretends he’s still funny.” Williams is then seen being assured by his agent that he is still funny.
It was first aired in January 2010 in the U.S.
Viewers took to Twitter to express their outrage over Network Seven’s alleged exploitation of the beloved actor’s death.
Whoever @7Mate_TV decided to air that episode of family guy with the cutaway Robin Williams gag. Not thought through. Just kinda awkward...
— Brandon Dyson (@Dyso7) August 12, 2014
@7Mate_TV, I love Family Guy, but please check your content before screening. Poor taste.
— Kate Mulvany (@Kate_Mulvany) August 12, 2014
Whaaattt!!! @7Mate_TV do you actually realise which episode of family guy you just showed ?!? Well done on abusing robin Williams..... )':
— Steph (@Steph_Murray15) August 12, 2014
However, Seven denied that it was a deliberate move on their part, telling Mumbrella that it was just a “coincidence.”
In the UK, BBC also had to explain an “uncanny coincidence” after it aired another “Family Guy” episode featuring Williams and suicide a few minutes before the Oscar-winning actor’s death was announced.
The episode “Viewer Mail #2” was aired on BBC Three between 11:25 pm and 11:45 pm on Monday, while the tragedy was reported close to 12 pm on the same day.
In one of the stories in the episode, Peter wishes for everyone to turn into Robin Williams. After he is struck by lightening, he develops a Midas Touch-like power and everything he touches, including inanimate objects, turns into Williams. Frustrated with his now-unwanted power, Peter tries to commit suicide.
BBC explained that it was just an “uncanny coincidence” that they aired the episode just minutes before Williams’ death announcement.
“The episode ended just as the news broke about his death. This was a repeat that we have shown a couple of times before, so who could have planned that?” a spokesman told MailOnline.
“It was scheduled more than two weeks ago so it is just an uncanny coincidence. Some of our people who work here noticed that the death of Robin Williams was announced just as this episode ended.”
The rep added that the episode was scheduled for repeat on Friday, but they have now decided against that.