An outline of a penis that appeared in a Maya the Bee episode was the result of “a very bad joke”, the makers of the children’s animated series have said.
Belgian company Studio 100 said the image was “absolutely inappropriate” and offered apologies “to everybody who has been offended by it”.
The image came to light after a viewer posted a clip of the instalment online.
This led to streaming service Netflix removing the episode, entitled King Willi, first broadcast in 2012.
Studio 100 told the BBC the penis, etched on a log in the background of a scene, “obviously results from a very bad joke from one of the 150 artists working on the production”.
“This is indeed unacceptable to Studio 100 as owner of the brand and all its affiliates and doesn’t reflect the quality of our work and our values,” it continued.
The Paris-based company said it was “very sorry” and that it was “taking all suitable technical measures to remedy the situation”.
Netflix has made no comment on the offending image, apart from clarifying that Maya the Bee is not available to its UK subscribers.
The series – based on a character created by German author Waldemar Bonsels – tells of a friendly bee and other anthropomorphised insects.