Beavis and Butt-Head

"Beavis and Butt-Head are not role models. They're not even human, they're cartoons. Some of the things they do would cause a person to get hurt, expelled, arrested, possibly deported. To put it another way: Don't try this at home."

In Moraine, Ohio, on October 6, 1993, five-year-old Austin Messner, set fire to his mother's mobile home with a cigarette lighter, killing his two-year-old sister, Jessica.

The mother later claimed that her son watched one of the fire-related segments shortly before he burned down the home. However, neighbors claimed that the family didn't even have cable television, and was unable to view the show.

In response to the allegation, MTV decided to remove all references to fire from subsequent airings, and move the show from its 7:00PM time slot, to the 10:00PM time slot, so it was less excusable for children to be watching the show.

Whether coincidentally or in response to this incident, MTV had started airing a new disclaimer at the start of each show, which warned the children never to imitate Beavis and Butt-Head. This began at least as early as the date of the fire, if not earlier.[1][2]

The creators found a censorship loophole and took delight in sometimes making Beavis scream things that sounded very similar to his previous "Fire! Fire!" (such as "Fryer! Fryer!" when Beavis and Butt-Head are working the late shift at Burger World) and also having him almost say the forbidden word (such as one time when he sang "Liar, liar, pants on..." and pausing before "fire" ("Liar! Liar!").

There was also a music video where a man runs on fire in slow motion ("California" by Wax). Beavis is hypnotized by it and can barely say "fire".

References to fire were cut from earlier episodes — even the original master tapes were altered permanently. Other episodes MTV opted not to rerun included "Stewart's House" and "Way Down Mexico Way".

Copies of early episodes with the controversial content intact are rare, and the copies that exist are made from home video recordings of the original broadcasts. In an interview included with the Mike Judge Collection DVD set, Judge said he is uncertain whether some of the earlier episodes still exist in their original, uncensored form.

In 2008, Messner (who was 20 years old at the time) came forward with his side of the controversy "I literally NEVER saw the cartoon. How could I? It was 1993, my Mom was a drug addict. We couldn't afford cable!"

At the time, he did not care about making this message publicly because he "did not care for social media" but in 2019, Messner wanted people (including series creator Mike Judge) to know about his side of the story. He claims he never saw an episode and he does not plan to because of this tragic incident.