April 23, 2010
They have depicted the Queen blowing her brains out after a failed attempt by the British army to reinvade America, Saddam Hussein as Satan’s gay lover, and Jesus as a trigger-happy superhero. Mormons, Scientologists, Catholics, Jews, politicians and film stars have all been skewered on the razor-sharp wit of South Park.
Now the caustic animated satire appears to have reached its limits within the confines of mainstream US television. Fans and pundits alike were taken aback last night when an episode featuring the prophet Muhammad purportedly dressed in a bear costume had bleeps and “Censored” blocks slapped liberally throughout to remove all audio and visual reference to the prophet.
The censorship followed a warning from a New York-based group of extremist Muslim converts that could be construed as a death threat. The group, through its website Revolutionmuslim.com, had reacted to last week’s episode of South Park which first depicted Muhammad dressed as a bear by saying its originators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, “will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh”.
To underline the point, the website carried a picture of Van Gogh, the Dutch film-maker killed in 2004 after he made a documentary on the abuse of women in Muslim countries, with his throat cut and a knife in his chest. They also listed the New York headquarters of Comedy Central, the cable television channel that broadcasts the show, and South Park’s production company, adding: “You can pay them a visit at these addresses.”
This article was posted: Friday, April 23, 2010 at 3:40 am