Wednesday, on South Park’s Cartoon Wars II episode, Comedy Central — for the first time in South Park’s eight-year history — found a reason to censor writer/creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
According to Volokh, the scene (as broadcast) went like this:
Kyle lectures the head of FOX about the importance of free speech:
….Do the right thing, Mr. President. . . .If you don’t show Mohammed, then you’ve made a distinction between what is OK to make fun of and what isn’t. Either it’s all OK or none of it is. Do the right thing.”
At the point in the South Park episode where Mohammed is about to be shown handing a football helmet (with a salmon on top of it) to the Family Guy, the screen shows these words:
“In this shot, Mohammed hands a football helmet to Family Guy.”
The next screen is black with white type: “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network.”
Instead of flashing a few frames of Muhammad just standing there, as the Washington Post reports:
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.
Below is a [forged?] still from the censored scene:
“In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision.”
Further investigation reveals that a 2001 episode of South Park, which has run several times since, does show Muhammad.
UPDATE: Jim Lindgren posted details of his interview with South Park Executive Producer Anne Garefino tonight.
?We wanted everyone to understand how strongly we felt about this,? said Garefino. Although the decision to omit Mohammed was not theirs, they wanted the language of the censorship disclosure to be their own.