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Banned Star Trek Moments That Fans Can’t See (Photos)

The world was first introduced to the immensely popular science-fiction franchise Star Trek on September 8, 1966, when the original series debuted on NBC. Created by Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek was able to gain a foothold in the sci-fi universe with the show’s ever-changing menagerie of concepts, intellectually stimulating plots, and memorable cast of characters.

James T. Kirk, the captain of the USS Enterprise, was portrayed by the unforgettable William Shatner. And as the series progressed throughout it’s three-season run, the cast and crew got to know each other exceptionally well – for better and for worse. Since the show’s creator, along with everyone else connected with Star Trek: The Original Series, were involved in developing essentially an entirely new realm of television, it shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise to anyone that there have been a few noteworthy Star Trek scandals that have since come to light.

From simple misunderstandings and workplace gossip to blatant acts of racism and sexism, the Star Trek scandals that we’re about to address pretty much speak for themselves. Regardless of whether you consider yourself to be an OG Trekkie or you became a fan after the series entered syndication, you will be blown away by these shocking Star Trek scandals.

Facts Verse Presents: Banned Star Trek Moments That Fans Can’t See

Sweatshop Labor

Since the show’s production team was working with an extremely limited budget from the get-go, producers Herb Solow and Robert Justman ended up circumventing some typical Hollywood protocols to produce the kind of results they were looking for without breaking the bank.

Rather than simply pay union costume designers a fair wage, they once admitted to having the show’s iconic costumes crafted hastily in a sweatshop. They managed to avoid this little tidbit of illegal and unethical intel getting detected by the rest of the crew by sneaking the completed costume pieces through a back window of the studio.

Spock Or Number One

During the re-shoot of the original show’s pilot, Gene Roddenberry had to choose between the “satanic” looking Spock and Commander Una Chin-Riley, commonly known as Number One. Roddenberry’s future wife, Majel Barrett, was cast as Number One, and she actually was chosen before Leonard Nimoy was cast as Spock. Still, Gene believed he could achieve more with Spock’s plotline, so he got rid of Number One and decided to give Spock the logical yet emotionally absent personality that was initially intended for her instead.

Too Steamy For TV?

Especially in comparison to what’s seen on TV today, Star Trek was a pretty non-offensive and family-friendly show. Still, it had to undergo a series of revisions before it could be green-lit, as it was seen by the network as being a bit too provocative for television at the time. That being said, network censors that screened episodes beforehand often missed out on other more overtly-inappropriate references when they were judging steamier scenes.

For example, in the episode “A Private Little War”, by showing a brief instance of passionate kissing and skimpy clothing, writers were able to slip in a covert reference to the Vietnam War without getting caught.

Shatner’s Unusual Requests

William Shatner may be a man of many talents, but he’s also notorious for being quite demanding. According to one of the show’s original writers, Norman Spinrad, Shatner insisted that Kirk be given the most lines in any given episode, even if that meant reducing the time that other important characters had to speak their minds.

Another example of Shatner’s ego-centric demands is highlighted by a September 1966 memo in which it was requested that Leonard Nimoy’s credit was to be no more than 75% of the type that was afforded to Shatner. In essence, he was demanding that his name appear significantly larger via font choice during the show’s credit sequence.

Roddenberry’s Sexism

The original Star Trek series featured women in skirts that were so short that bending over to retrieve a fumbled tricorder was impossible. On top of that, most of the women seen in early episodes of the series weren’t exactly the strong, empowered, self-reliant Sarah Connor types.

Much of that blatant sexism can be directly attributed to Gene Roddenberry’s lack of respect for women in general. Before he got involved with Hollywood, Roddenberry was already infamous for having affairs with his secretaries. Once he was established in Tinsel Town, there was pretty much no stopping him.

It’s well-known that Roddenberry once had an affair with Nichele Nichols, the actress who played Uhura. And according to one of screenwriter Gene Coon’s former assistants, Roddenberry was, and we quote, a “sexist, manipulative person who disregarded women”. She went on to add that Gene would frequently have women walking from the fitting rooms through his office wearing the skimpiest outfits just so that he could ogle at them.

George Takei’s Sexuality

Takei, who played Sulu in Star Trek: The Original Series and several of the franchise’s early films is an openly and unapologetically gay man who has for years been a fearless champion of LBGTQ rights.

When writing a script for Star Trek Beyond, screenwriter Simon Pegg decided to include a scene that depicted Sulu as raising a child with a male partner. No doubt, Pegg’s heart was in the right place, but Takei wasn’t thrilled by his depiction of his character’s sexuality. Historically, Sulu was never presented as gay in the Star Trek universe, and Takei firmly believed that in doing so it would undermine Roddenberry’s vision of the character.

While Roddenberry was always a supporter and ally of the LGBTQ community throughout his life, Takei knew that he had never imagined Sulu engaging in a same-sex relationship. So, instead, Takei suggested that Pegg come up with a new LGBTQ character instead.

Writing Hangups

Although Roddenberry had already obtained approval to produce his sci-fi series, he and Desilu studios soon realized that they needed to quickly start pumping out scripts if they wanted the series to debut on time. They ran into problems, however, when they discovered that very few writers – even veteran TV screenwriters – could comprehend the complex science fiction material.

To remedy this issue, Roddenberry commissioned scripts from sci-fi magazine authors, novelists, and even a few office staff members. Since there was such a big rush for the scripts to be written, it’s not surprising that they ended up being quite costly.

Deep Space 9 May Have Plagiarized Babylon 5

Fans of both sci-fi series have long drawn stark comparisons between Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and Babylon 5. Before recently, however, the evidence that one stole from the other was purely circumstantial.

Evidently, Babylon 5 was initially pitched to Paramount before Warner Brothers ended up picking it up. Paramount then went on to green-light Deep Space 9.

Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, ended up ignoring the similarities between the two shows mostly because he hated the idea of spending boatloads of cash on litigation. He also didn’t want to create an ugly scene that would tarnish the reputations of both series – but especially his.

In 2013, however, a former Warner Brothers employee came forward and claimed that Warner Brothers and Paramount had actually planned at one point to launch a joint television network featuring one sci-fi series, Deep Space 9. Warner Brothers had already agreed to pick up Babylon 5 though, and according to that aforementioned source, Paramount had simply taken what they liked from the Babylon 5 script and injected it into the Deep Space 9 one. If the plan to launch that joint network had gone forward, given the similarities between the two shows, it’s likely that Babylon 5 would have never seen the light of day.

D.C. Fontana Was Forced To Use Her Initials Due To Sexism

These days, women have more professional opportunities than ever before, but back in the 60s, it was an entirely different story.

In 1960, Dorothy Fontana was a young, up-and-coming screenwriter who was working as a production secretary on TV series called The Tall Man. Her boss was well aware of her ambitions and encouraged her to share with him a few of her story ideas. This led to her making her first sale at age 20.

She went on to find a lot of success with The Tall Man, but otherwise, she was struggling to sell her ideas to showrunners of other shows. She kept hearing people say sexist things, like they doubted that a woman could write as well as a man. So, not knowing what else to do, she began signing her scripts with her initials instead.

After being hired by Gene Roddenberry to pen scripts for Star Trek, she maintained the practice of using her initials so that she would not lose respect. At times, she would even use a male pseudonym, Michael Richards. Obviously, there was something going on behind the scenes in terms of misogynistic pressure from the entertainment industry that prevented her from being true to herself. And honestly, we find that to be utterly tragic.

The Firing Of Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden, who played Dr. Beverly Crusher in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” was reportedly fired from the show after the first season. However, there are conflicting reports, and the exact reasons for her departure are unclear. Some sources say it was due to creative differences, while others suggest it was because of budget cuts. Regardless, McFadden was eventually rehired for the second season and remained a part of the cast for the rest of the series.

Same-Sex Depictions

“Rejoined,” an episode of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” generated controversy when it featured a romantic storyline between two female characters, Jadzia Dax and Lenara Khan, who had been previous hosts of the same Trill symbiont. This marked one of the first instances of an openly lesbian relationship depicted on American television, and it generated debate about the representation of LGBTQ+ relationships in the media. Some fans and conservative groups criticized the episode for its depiction of a same-sex relationship, while others applauded it for its positive representation of LGBTQ+ characters. Overall, the episode sparked discussion about the role of television in promoting acceptance and tolerance for diverse communities.

Allegations Of Racism

Despite it’s utopian vision of the future, the Star Trek franchise has been criticized for it’s lack of diversity among the main cast members – particularly in the original series, which had a predominately white cast. Likewise, the portrayal of certain alien races as primitive or savage has been criticized as perpetuating racist ideas and harmful stereotypes.

Overall, while “Star Trek” has been praised for its progressive vision of the future and its depiction of a diverse and inclusive society, it has also faced criticism for its handling of racial issues and representation. The franchise has made attempts to address these criticisms in more recent series, with a more diverse cast and a greater focus on representation and cultural sensitivity.

On that note, we’ll go ahead and wrap this video up, but before we sound off, we’d like to toss the mic over to you to let your voice be heard.

Are you a fan of the Star Trek franchise? If so, do you think that the franchise has been moving in the right direction in recent years in terms of inclusiveness and representation, or do you think that it still has room to improve? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thanks for watching.

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