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:
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?
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.
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.
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