“South Park” Censored
There was something missing in Wednesday night’s South Park, as a title card explained: “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network.”
It was not a joke.
The scene depicting the Islamic prophet handing a football helmet to a character from Family Guy (at least that’s how another of the show’s title cards put it) really was nixed by Comedy Central.
A source close to the show said safety concerns were behind the move. Earlier this year, Danish newspapers published cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed, sparking deadly riots throughout many Muslim nations. Any rendering of the prophet, even a positive one, is considered blasphemous by Muslims.
“In light of recent events, we feel we made the right decision,” Comedy Central said in a statement Thursday.
There was no public response from series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
Wednesday’s South Park, “Cartoon Wars, Part 2,” was the concluding half of a story arc in which Family Guy, yes, the Fox animated series, causes international consternation when, in a familiar-sounding turn of events, it depicts Mohammed. (The story line is better understood if one accepts that, as The South Park Scriptorium explained, “Family Guy=South Park.”)
In the South Park version of things, Family Guy makes it to air with the controversial scene, prompting an animated response (literally) from al Qaeda involving Jesus, President Bush, the U.S. flag and bowel movements.
In an interview with the Associated Press, William Donohue of the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights attacked Parker and Stone, but not Comedy Central, for the Jesus bit making air. Of the show’s creators, Donohue said, “[They’re] like little whores…They’ll sit there and they’ll whine and they’ll take their shot at Jesus.”
South Park has been winning friends of late with its religious-themed episodes. Last year, Comedy Central ran, but later declined to rerun the episode “Bloody Mary” after Donohue’s group took umbrage with a menstruating statue of the Virgin Mary. Last month, Isaac Hayes turned in his Chef’s hat, saying the show’s satire had gone too far. His departure was seen as a belated response to “Trapped in the Closet,” a 2005 episode that focused on Scientology, Hayes’ religion. Comedy Central pulled a rerun of that episode, too.
An avowed equal opportunity offender, South Park previously depicted Mohammed to little public outcry. In that case, timing might have been everything. The episode, “Super Best Friends,” debuted in July 2001, or two months before the arrival of the post-9-11 world.
“South Park” Censored