Let me start this by saying that I am not a fan of South Park. The libertarian creators of this show have made plenty of disgusting points throughout, not the least being a defense of Bush and his wars.

However, they are sometimes funny (see the Dog Whisperer taming Eric Cartman episode) and sometimes right on the mark in their episodes on religion and sometimes prejudice (their episode on Mel Gibson was the best comment on the whole sorry story).

Last night I tried to watch the new South Park episode. Half way through it, a black block with the word “CENSORED” appeared where this character, Muhammed

was supposed to be (here. from an episode pre-censorship).  It looked like this (short video at Gawker)

At the end of the episode entire minutes of the episode conclusion were nothing but a long bleep of the sound.

Interestingly, one of the objects of satire of the episode, was the over-reverence for Muhammed because of violence threats.

In the story, Tom Cruise and other Hollywood starts what to get from Muhammed “the power of not being ridiculed”

Throughout the story, references are made to the fact that Muhammed cannot be shown – and at one point he is out in a bear costume. And then there’s the life imitates art part:

According to CBS (owned like Comedy central by Viacom)

South Park 201 Censored: Radical Islamic Death Warning Follows Muhammad Episode

The group, RevolutionMuslim.com, has warned the cartoon’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, that they could face violent retribution.


The post showed a gruesome picture of Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was shot and stabbed to death in an Amsterdam street in 2004 by a fanatic angered by Van Gogh’s film about Muslim women. The film was written by a Muslim woman who rejected the Prophet Muhammad as a guide for today’s morality.

The show’s producers decided to go ahead with it anyway and Comedy central aired it, but…. then, the other level of life imitates art: an episode about censorship was, well, heavily censored.

When one tries to stream the episode on line, one gets this screen

I have to agree with the way this is framed in B0botland

Breaking: Terrorism Has Won-South Park Episode DELIBERATELY Censored by Comedy Central.

.Indeed, after years of using the line for laughs, we have to accept that there’s no other explanation for Comedy central’s actions.

There are many posts in the discussion trying to defend the censorship. There’s also one that perfectl sums up the story

10. The funny thing is

the censorship helped Matt and Trey make part of their point: Why is it that Comedy Central has no problem depicting Buddha snorting coke and Jesus watching porn, but freaks out when a radical Muslim cocks an eyebrow? By censoring the episode, the network just underlined the message that no religious figure should be above discussion and criticism. In their minds, anyone who thinks otherwise is just a sheep that can hit an audio censorship button.

I know my household was rolling on the floor.

My household was confused as to what was intended and what wasn’t. And now, that we know it, angry.

Here’s Muhammed

And here’s a previous South Park satire on such censorship (from 2006)

And in the same vein I can’t stop thinking of Obama removing the word “islamic” from terrorism related documents.

Update

The NY Times article contains Trey and Parker’s statement

In the 14 years we’ve been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn’t stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode. It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle’s customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn’t mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too. We’ll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different and we’ll see what happens to it.