Netflix and Bill Nye the Science Guy didn't censor old episodes to remove sex chromosomes explanation

A 1996 segment attributing biological sex to chromosomes was removed from the version on Netflix, but for very different reasons than right-wing critics assumed

Clarisse Loughrey
Tuesday 06 June 2017 09:18 BST

Though claims surfacing that Netflix and Bill Nye the Science Guy had censored old episodes sent right-wing critics foaming at the mouth, the truth of the situation is, in fact, very different.

The 20-year-old series Bill Nye the Science Guy is now streaming on Netflix, alongside his new show Bill Nye Saves the World, with controversy being sparked by one viewer's observation that a segment in which a young woman explains sex chromosomes, and how they lead to whether a person biologically becomes male or female, had been edited out.

Notably, the actual science behind such an explanation has evolved somewhat in the past two decades, with Nye now pointing out in his new show that there are "more combinations in real life" than merely XX and XY.

Though it wouldn't be an irrational decision if Netflix chose to update the show so that young viewers wouldn't be left with out-of-date and incorrect information, Indiewire reveals that's not what happened here.

The cut was actually made back in 2007, when multiple episodes were edited down after Disney's Buena Vista, the show's distributors, decided to offer up episodes via direct-to-consumer sales on iTunes and other platforms, a fact now confirmed by Disney/ABC Domestic Television.

The move involved a fair amount of cutting and compromise; firstly, only 31 of the most popular titles were chosen to be distributed, as offering the full 100 existing episodes didn't make financial sense.

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Furthermore, the company had to examine what music and talent rights they had, with Disney confirming many segments were pulled after being unable to secure clearance from the actors or the music rights holders.

The young woman who appeared in the segment explaining sex chromosomes couldn't be located, and so the scene was pulled.

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