First Amendment topicsAbout the First Amendment
News Story
 
print this   Print

Comedy Central censored 'South Park' segment, producers say

By The Associated Press
04.23.10

NEW YORK — Producers of “South Park” said Thursday that Comedy Central removed a speech about intimidation and fear from their show after a radical Muslim group warned that they could be killed for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

It came during about 35 seconds of dialogue between the cartoon characters of Kyle, Jesus Christ and Santa Claus that was bleeped out.

“It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part,” producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone said. Comedy Central declined to comment.

Earlier this week, the radical group Revolution Muslim said on its Web site that “South Park” had insulted their prophet during last week’s episode by depicting him in a bear costume.

The group said it wasn’t threatening Parker and Stone, but it included a gruesome picture of Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker killed by a Muslim extremist in 2004, and said the producers could meet the same fate. The Web site posted the addresses of Comedy Central’s New York office and the California production studio where “South Park” is made.

Despite that, Parker and Stone included the Muhammad character in this week’s episode. Muhammad appeared with his body obscured by a black box, since Muslims consider a physical representation of their prophet to be blasphemous. When the bear costume was removed, it was revealed to be Santa Claus.

Parker and Stone are known for waiting until the last minute to deliver episodes, often pulling all-nighters to get them done, and giving them the opportunity to address things in the news.

They said that in 14 years of making “South Park,” which just had its 200th episode, they’ve never delivered one they couldn’t stand behind.

“Kyle’s customary final speech was about intimidation and fear,” they said. “It didn’t mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped ... We’ll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different, and we’ll see what happens to it.”

Besides the censored dialogue, only one inside joke in this week’s episode could be interpreted as a reference to the Muslim group’s warning.

During one scene, a mechanized Barbra Streisand robot is seen stomping through the town on a path of destruction. One voice is heard to say, “they’ve destroyed La Casa Bonita!”

“La Casa Bonita” is the name of Parker and Stone’s production facility.


Related

Fallout from Prophet cartoons continues

By Nat Hentoff 'Free speech' cries ring hollow on college campuses and beyond (reprinted from USA TODAY). 04.20.06

Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Larry Divney 'Speaking Freely' transcript


Muhammad cartoons


News summary page
View the latest news stories throughout the First Amendment Center Online.



Last system update: Friday, April 23, 2010 | 21:38:21
 SEARCH  MORE
About this site
About the First Amendment
About the First Amendment Center
How to contribute
Video/RSS/podcasts
First Amendment programs
State of the First Amendment
reports

Religious liberty in public schools
First Reports
Supreme Court
Columnists
Experts
First Amendment publications
First Amendment Center history
Glossary
Freedom Sings™
Events
First Amendment
Schools

Congressional Research Service reports
Guest editorials
FOI material
The First Amendment
Library

Lesson plans
freedomforum.org
Newseum
Contact us
Privacy statement
Related links