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Comedy Central Censored Mohammed “South Park”

Comedy Central censored an image of Mohommad in last night’s episode of “South Park” making fun of television networks and others bowing to pressure from Islamist extremists by censoring Muhammad. They displayed the following image during the show:

South Park Comedy Central Censored Image Mohammed

One might have presumed this was just a gag by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. That would have been my guess (I watched the previous week’s episode but have not watched last night’s, which is in my TiVo) and it was Ed Morrissey‘s presumption. Stephen Spruiell discovered otherwise.

I just got off the phone with a Comedy Central spokesman. I asked him about last night’s episode of South Park in which, at a moment right before the prophet Mohammed was supposed to make a cameo, the words, “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network” appeared on the screen.

I asked him whether this truly was Comedy Central’s decision or whether this was just another gag (with South Park, you never know). He said:

They reflected it accurately. That was a Comedy Central decision.

Just in case there was any confusion, that settles it. Comedy Central censored the image.

Quite bizarre and gutless. Not to mention hypocritical, given that “South Park” continually does vicious parodies of other sensitive topics, apparently without censorship from the network. They will apparently make fun of Christians and Scientologists but yet they are afraid to incur the wrath of intolerant Islamists. Which, again, was the very topic of this two-part episode?

Wow.

Michelle Malkin, from whom I got the above screen cap, has the video of last night’s episode available for download.

Jim Lindgren provides an episode summary and quotes a commenter, “Comedy Central apparently allows South Park to show Jesus defacating on others and being defacated on, but prohibits showing Mohammed ‘just standing there, looking normal.’”

Update: Matthew Stinson does not engage in the present controversy but has an excellent summary of why this two-parter was classic “South Park.” This passage from the first part is especially fitting in light of the no-show decision:

Cartman: And in just a few weeks from now, “Family Guy” will be off the air forever.

Kyle: Off the air? But, we’re just trying to get the Mohammed episode pulled.

Cartman: It’s simple television economics, Kyle. All it takes to kill a show forever is get one episode pulled. If we convince the network to pull this episode for the sake of Muslims, then the Catholics can demand a show they don’t like get pulled. And then people with disabilities can demand another show get pulled, and so on and so on, until “Family Guy” is no more…

I guess we shall now see.

Update 2: Kevin Aylward isn’t buying it. Caltechgirl points to the following image, which is on Wizbang’s server (but not linked by Kevin):

South Park Season 10 Opening Mohammed

It’s from the opening sequence for the current 10th season of “South Park.” Among those in the crowd shot are Jesus, a recurring character with his own public access show, Satan (who is gay–not that there’s anything wrong with that–and having an affair with Saddam Hussein) and–in the little box–a figure that looks suspiciously like Mohammed. Interesting.

Update 3 (4/14): AP Television Writer David Bauder has more details.

Banned by Comedy Central from showing an image of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, the creators of “South Park” skewered their own network for hypocrisy in the cartoon’s most recent episode. The comedy — in an episode aired during Holy Week for Christians — instead featured an image of Jesus Christ defecating on President Bush and the American flag.

In an elaborately constructed two-part episode of their Peabody Award-winning cartoon, “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker intended to comment on the controversy created by a Danish newspaper’s publishing of caricatures of Muhammad. Muslims consider any physical representation of their prophet to be blasphemous.

[...]

Parker and Stone were angered when told by Comedy Central several weeks ago that they could not run an image of Muhammad, according to a person close to the show who didn’t want to be identified because of the issue’s sensitivity. The network’s decision was made over concerns for public safety, the person said. Comedy Central said in a statement issued Thursday: “In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision.” Its executives would not comment further.

[...]

A frequent “South Park” critic, William Donohue of the anti-defamation group Catholic League, called on Parker and Stone to resign out of principle for being censored. “The ultimate hypocrite is not Comedy Central — that’s their decision not to show the image of Muhammad or not — it’s Parker and Stone,” he said. “Like little whores, they’ll sit there and grab the bucks. They’ll sit there and they’ll whine and they’ll take their shot at Jesus. That’s their stock in trade.”

That’s certainly what the Family Guy manatees would have done.

________

Related posts below the fold.

SOUTH PARK

MOHAMMED CENSORSHIP

Danish Muslim Cartoons - Click to enlarge

See these cartoons in full size here.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. The Y Files says:

    rightly

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  2. Blogniscient says:

    Iowa Voice | 4/13/2006 13:42:49 Did Comedy Central Censor South Park? A lot of buzz going around about last nights episode of South Park. For the record, I rarely watch the show anym… 12[IMG Right]Comedy Central Censored Mohammed “South Park…

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  3. free speech to an interest group who claims to hold the only legitimate authority on how its narrative can be expressed, you have effectively done away with both the idea of free speech and the idea of tolerance in its non-bastardized form.” [IMG]James Joyner: “They will apparently make fun of Christians and Scientologists but yet they are afraid to incur the wrath of intolerant Islamists. Which, again, was the very topic of this two-part episode?” Mary Katherine Ham

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  4. Say Anything, Power Line, The Volokh Conspiracy, Captain’s Quarters, Hugh Hewitt, Carol Platt Liebau, Flopping Aces, Media Blog (NRO), Outside The Beltway, Instapundit, CNSNews, Betsy’s Page, Sister Toldjah,Outside The Beltway, Wizbang, The Irish Trojan’s Blog, TV Squad, Iowa Voice, PoliBlog, Cam Edwards, Right Wing News, OPFOR, Althouse, New England Republican, The Claremont Institute, Don Surber, NewsBusters.org, The Coalition of the Swilling

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  5. The Irish Trojan’s Blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, Captain’s Quarters, Hugh Hewitt, Carol Platt Liebau, Flopping Aces, Media Blog (NRO), Outside The Beltway, Instapundit, CNSNews, Betsy’s Page, Sister Toldjah,Outside The Beltway, Wizbang, The Irish Trojan’s Blog, TV Squad, Iowa Voice, PoliBlog, Cam Edwards, Right Wing News, OPFOR, Althouse, New England Republican, The Claremont Institute, Don Surber, NewsBusters.org, The Coalition of the Swilling

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  6. Adam's Blog says:

    They reflected it accurately. That was a Comedy Central decision. Just in case there was any confusion, that settles it. Comedy Central censored the image. Its all over the net, now. The big guns have come out a-firin’: The Volokh ConspiracyOutside the Beltway Captain’s QuartersWizbang Blog Michelle Malkin Don Surber sees a difference however between South Park’s portrayal of Christ and that of Mohammad: Conservatives have bigger issues than whether some TV show is offensive enough to the Koran.

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  7. Outside the Beltway

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  8. [...] Crosspost from OTB [...]

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  9. SgtFluffy says:

    it was way ou there. Lately though I have started watching it though because they continue to make light of everything. What I cauf=ght as really accurate last night was their portrayal of the White House Press Corps reaction to Bush mentioning the First Ammendment to them, priceless

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  10. I hate you guys. Especially [Comedy Central]…

    Just 20 minutes after showing Mohammed in the group shot at the end of the opening credits of the episode, CC pulls a hypocritical BONER and refuses to show Mohamed handing a “salmon helmet” to Peter Griffin in part 2……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Should We Care?…

    Michelle Malkin notes that Comedy Central apparently censored a cartoon of Mohammed on a recent episode of South Park.
    Now here’s the question (and I am not being sarcastic or really much of anything here): but should we care? I have never wa…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. caltechgirl says:

    Many of the “Super Best Friends” are in that picture, including Jesus (front right), Mohammed (boxed), and Buddha(back left). I don’t see Joseph Smith, Lao Tzu or Krishna, but the picture is pretty small…..

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  13. MakPlak says:

    Everybody knows that Cartman is secretly Muhammad.

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  14. Southpark and Mohammed – art imitating life…

    The big issue of the day today in the blogosphere is Comedy Central’s admitted censoring of a cartoon image of Mohammed on last night’s Southpark episode (see here and here for background).
    I’m not a Southpark watcher – have never lik…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. MTV Mocks Jesus – Will Christians Riot?…

    Muslims went on a rampage because of some relatively innocuous cartoons of the false prophet Muhammad. Claims were made that no one would ever accept such insults directed at Jesus. Well, guess what – MTV has engaged in blasphemy against……

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  16. SAMMENHOLD says:

    COMEDY CENTRAL CAVES IN TO CENSORSHIP…

    Michelle Malkin has the story here:

    Kyle to the president of Fox as Cartman points the gun: "You can’t do what he wants just because he’s the one threatening you with violence!"
    Download and watch clip (.wmv file).
    Me, I was just happy…

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  17. South Park should kiss-off Viacom II…

    IT’S NOT OVER. IT’S ONLY JUST BEGUN. From my South Park should Kiss-off Viacom post: My advice to Matt and Trey? Announce they’re leaving Comedy Central unless they get, say, the same kind of total control that huge Hollywood directors……

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  18. Dean's World says:

    Bismillah! We killed South Park!…

    Maybe I was wrong about just how slippery the slope is or isn’t in connection with the Borders Books issue. By now you’ve h……

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  19. kyle says:

    funny thing is, they have shown mohammed, like we have said, but no one protested at that time until South Park makes a big episode about censoring him so now they do it…kinda ironic isnt it? haha

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